Burying / Mounting the Boundary Wire

There are five principal ways you can bury or mount the dog fence boundary wire:

1.  Hire a trencher, that will automatically dig a trench, lay the cable and bury the cable.  A trencher is what the pro’s use to lay cable and REALLY speeds up the job, allowing you to lay cable at about 3 yards a minute.  You can hire a trencher with a cable laying attachment for a day for around $50 at most tool supply houses, it is money well spent as it will let you halve your installation time.  If you are laying less than 300 yards of cable, you can get away with hiring the trencher for half a day. Remember the recommended bury depth is 1 to 3 inches. You may want to ask the rental company if the trenching blade is adjustable so that you do not bury your wire too deep. For detailed instructions for using a trencher click here.

2.  Use a power edger to dig a shallow trench, then manually lay the cable and bury it. If you don’t already own a power edger, your neighbors probably do, so take a six-pack next door and see if you can borrow it.  Alternatively, buy a cheap power edger for around $50 or hire one for even less.  For detailed instructions click here.

3.  Shovel.  If you don”t mind putting in a little elbow grease, using a shovel (or pick axe for harder soil) is a good way to bury the cable.  You will need to dig a narrow trench, then manually lay the cable and bury the cable.  This method is best suited to smaller yards (under 1/2 an acre) or to doing the smaller sections where you cannot run the edger or trencher.  Click for more detailed instructions on burying the wire using a shovel.

4. Above Ground  (No Dig Method) You do not have to bury the wire at all. In areas that are not mowed, you can simply lay your wire on the surface of the ground and staple it in place using lawn staples to hold it in place. This is particularly useful in lightly trafficked areas and wooded areas where burying the wire is difficult. For details click here.

5. Fence Mounting If you have a convenient fence, the boundary wire can attached to the fence instead of buried. Running the wire along a fence line allows for a quicker installation, and the presence of a physical fence aids in the training process. For more details on fence mounting the boundary wire, see here.


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{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve October 25, 2015 at 8:55 am

Wow Great website. Lots of info.
We would like to bury the wire across our asphalt paved driveway. 1. how do you do it? Do I have to cut through the pavement? 2. What depth? 3. Is there an alternative? I was thinking of just laying it across but then we would be driving over the wire everyday and the snow plow would rip it up too.


ADMIN – Hi Steve. We’re glad you’re finding useful information on our site. For your driveway, we recommend using an expansion joint that exists already if you have one. If so, you can clean it out really well and lay the wire in the expansion joint and cover it with silicon caulk. For other options, please visit our “Driveways and Pathways” page for more suggestions on working with and around your driveway.

nelson October 7, 2015 at 7:14 pm

Can you run an invisible fence wire through the top rail of a chain link fence using it as a conduit? Will it still be effective running through a metal pipe?

ADMIN- Hi Nelson. The Boundary Wire should be installed 5-10 feet away from metal and/or electromagnetic interference (e.g., metal siding, aluminum siding, metal roof, metal fencing, HVAC equipment, etc) to avoid amplification problems and unintended corrections to the dog’s collar.

Bruce Bee August 1, 2015 at 9:52 am

Great website! My rear property line is 80′ wide. There is an overhead single phase electric line, telephone and cable lines running directly (parallel) over the property line that feeds our house with an overhead service line. The lowest line (cable or phone seems to be 9 or 10′ at its lowest sag. How close can I bury the wire parallel to the overhead line? Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Bruce. Your overhead lines are at least 10 feet above the ground, so the Boundary Wire will not receive amplification problems from the overhead line. We recommend burying the Boundary Wire 1-3 inches in the ground.

Rob Van Rossom June 25, 2015 at 7:38 am

I would like to have the cable run above the garage door so that the dog can still go in to the garage if needed and as I see it know it’s not possible to twist the cables there. How high above the door should I let the cable run so that he is not accidently corrected?
Kind regards

ADMIN – Hi Rob. We recommend keeping 10 feet of vertical distance to avoid accidental “bleed through” of the signal. This vertical height over the ground gives your dog enough space to get in and out of the door without triggering the correction. As always, you want to test the electric dog collar to make sure there is no signal accidentally reaching down where the dog will walk.

Carole Montgomery March 30, 2015 at 8:53 pm

Do the dogs wear the collar all the time or do they have to come off at night?

ADMIN – Hi Carole. Proper fit of the dog collar is important. A collar worn for too long or made too tight on the pet’s neck may cause skin damage. A lot of our customers bring their dogs inside and remove the collar from the dog at the end of the day. Then, they turn off the dog collar at night to conserve battery power.

Bill Johnson March 14, 2015 at 11:36 am

Is it okay to bury the twisted pair right alongside conduit carrying 110V AC? Or should I run the twisted pair in a separate trench?

ADMIN – Hi Bill. We do not recommend burying twisted wire next to conduit carrying 110v AC. We recommend running the twisted wire 5-10 feet away from underground power lines to avoid signal amplification and unintended corrections to the dog’s collar.

Chet January 2, 2015 at 4:28 am

We have a Shitzu that loves to pee in carpeted rooms. I can take him out 30 times a day it just doesn’t matter. He is great on tile and hard wood floors. I am building a new house. The basement and upstairs are carpeted ax well as a living room on the main floor. I’m thinking of running a copper wire in the concrete were I want to keep the dog out of have you ever seen this done, and will it transmit through concrete?

ADMIN – Hi Chet. What is the age and weight of your Shitzu? What is the size of your pet containment area? What kind of layout are you using? What is the model number of the dog fence system that you are using? What gauge boundary wire are you using? We recommend installing boundary wire 1-3 inches in the ground. If you are installing boundary wire across concrete, the same rule applies. We recommend running the wire across an expansion joint when possible. You can also use a circular saw with a masonry blade to create a groove for the boundary wire and cover with a waterproofing compound.

Doug December 1, 2014 at 2:36 am

Hello, I have a privacy fenced in backyard and a husky that loves to dig, so I’m also putting up an invisible fence around my backyard fence my question is because this has to be a closed loop system that I will have to run along the back of the house where the door to let the dog out is, how do I let the dog outside without shocking it the second it walks out the back door? I’ve never used an invisible fence before, so this may be a dumb question (I haven’t gotten the unit yet, shipping should be here in a few days).


ADMIN – Hi Doug. A popular method is go high over the back of your house. Run the Boundary Wire up a downspout on one side of the house, across the gutter, and down the downspout on the other side of the house. This vertical height over the ground gives your dog enough space to get in and out of the back door without triggering the correction. As always, you want to test with the collar at the back door to make sure there is no signal accidentally reaching down where the dog will walk. Also test rooms near the gutter line to make sure there is no signal spilling into those rooms. If there is unwanted spill, turn down the Boundary Width Dial setting on the Transmitter control box until you are getting no spill.

Elaine October 13, 2014 at 10:51 pm

Hello. I am helping a neighbor put in an invisible fence and have a question regarding the looping of wire. She design in an “L” shape. We understand that the wire must be a closed loop so we will have to start at one end, go to the other end, then loop the wire and take it back to the beginning. My question is: Can you lay the looped wire that will go back to the beginning in the same trench?

ADMIN – Hi Elaine, Unfortunately no you cannot lay the dog fence boundary wire in the same ditch. This will cause the signal to cancel out most of the signal. I recommend separating the wires by 4 to 5 feet.

carol cress October 9, 2014 at 7:01 pm

What kind of wire is used for the fence? Is it solid or stranded wire? What is the gauge too?

ADMIN – Hi Carol, the dog fence wire is a insulated copper wire for direct burial. Most of our wire is solid core, but stranded wire is also acceptable. You can install the small 20 gauge or 18 gauge wire, but we recommend using the 16 gauge or the 14 gauge for a break proof wire.

Alyssa September 2, 2014 at 10:56 am

I am currently looking at the Sport Dog underground fence system, unless you have a better recommendation. It would be approximately a 1,000 foot area that I fence off and I have a 5 month old Great Pyrenees that we would be using the fencing for. A couple questions for you: 1. Do you know if the collar device on the collar they wear can be removed and placed on a different collar? 2. We live in North Dakota where winters can get pretty snowy. Wondering if I upgrade to a thicker wire if it would transmit better through the snow? If so, what type and size would you recommend? 3. We live out in the country and I’m worried about rodents chewing threw the underground wire. What can I use around the wire to prevent this? Would that still work with the cable feeder attachment on a trencher?

ADMIN – Hi Alyssa, One, yes the collar strap on the dog fence collar can be easily replaced with any non-metal collar strap of your choice. Two, yes I would recommend upgrading to 14 gauge and you will be able to turn up the signal to compensate for snow. Three, if this is a big concern, I would recommend running the wire through irrigation hose to prevent damage from rodents. If you went with this, then I would recommend that you rent a traditional trencher to make your work go fast.

Josh May 23, 2014 at 8:37 pm

We have a neighbor who is also interested in getting an in ground fence. We’d like to keep both of our yards open for the dogs but would possibly want to be able to split it later if one of us moves. Are we able to add in the wire to split our homes later without having to replace all of the wire?

ADMIN – Hi Rosemary, yes, you can definitely split the layout later in the event your neighbor moves. You just want to make sure that the wall transmitter is installed at your home.

Winnie May 19, 2014 at 1:16 pm

How far down should I bury the wire and going across my drive way witch is gravel?

ADMIN – Hi Winnie, we recommend burying dog fence wire at a depth of 4 inches but no deeper than 8 inches. We recommend running the wire through PVC or garden hose when burying dog fence wire in gravel.

cw May 14, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Can you use 18 gauge drop cord?

ADMIN – Hi CW, unfortunately these underground dog fences require an insulated copper wire. It can be either solid or stranded. We recommend 16 and 14 gauge. We also recommend a thick insulation on the wire as well to protect from scares and nicks.

Cynthia Caudill May 1, 2014 at 3:06 pm

We have used the wireless unit on our pit/ American English mix for yrs and it has been perfect but we have recently moved to a trailer on land that has 3 levels to the property with limestone throughout. The unit is not working and has gaps that he is getting through. Do we need to use the wire unit and if so can the wire be part buried and part on top of the ground?

ADMIN – Hi Cynthia, yes I would recommend a wired unit. You can have parts that are buried and other parts that are above ground. You can run the above ground sections in a hose to protect it if you like.

Gajan Retnasaba April 29, 2014 at 8:57 am

My dogs collar beeps when we’ll inside of the fence i.e., next to me in the house. We’ve replaced the battery. Not sure why it happens. It’s a buried line and installed properly.

ADMIN – Hi Wyatt, You are experiencing interference. To solve this problem, locate all the utility cables on your property and where they lead. Then compare them to where your boundary wire is located. Next, make sure the boundary wire is 15 feet away from utility lines when running parallel to them. And, make sure that when the boundary wire crosses a utility that it crosses in a perpendicular angle creating a “T.” Then adjust the boundary width signal down slightly. This should solve the interference issue.

Bond Keevil April 26, 2014 at 3:44 pm

First, I’d like to thank you for all the great information here. 1) My current plan for a PetSafe YardMax system has the wire running fairly close to an existing dog house. At what distance from the wire will the dog start getting warning beeps? 2) We have around 1.5′ of snow cover for much of the year and I was wondering if I’m better off going with wireless because of this?

ADMIN – Hi Bond, thanks for the feedback! If you are using the YardMax mode, the collar will not beep until it crosses the wire, so the placement of the wire to the dog house is good. Snow is not an issue either. The signal will broadcast through the snow.

Robin April 21, 2014 at 8:08 am

I have two Airedale Terrier’s (90lbs) and one Carin Terrier (10 lbs). What containment systems do you suggest for them for my 10 acre property? thanks

ADMIN – Hi Robin, I would recommend the PetSafe YardMax. The collar is light at 3 oz and can fit both your Airedale and Carin Terrier nicely. You can also set different correction levels for each.

Lisa April 13, 2014 at 5:47 pm

I’m installing my fence for the 3rd time in 7 years do to moles and gophers that I cannot kill fast enough. Can I install in poly tubing? I’m hoping to buy myself a few years.

ADMIN – Hi Lisa, Yes you can definitely run the wire through poly tubing. That would provide a great protection from the pesky moles.

Dave November 18, 2013 at 11:17 pm

I live in the country and would like to fence off approximately 20 acres. I have an existing field fence on three sides. If I am suspending the wire off the ground on the existing posts, is it necessary for the wire to be self insulated or can I use normal high tensile wire and electric fence insulators? I realize there will be some signal loss due to the lower conductive capacity of the steel vs. copper, but this could be accounted for by burying the remainder deeper or using smaller diameter wire for the buried sections. Any info would be great!! thanks

ADMIN – Hi Dave, unfortunately, the fence transmitters require an insulated wire to broadcast the signal. The high tensile wire will not work unfortunately. However, you can attach the wire for a dog fence directly to your high tensile fence to ease installation.

Ben October 29, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Hi, thanks for your great site! Our house on six acres has buried electric and phone lines running to the house, but I’ve read that invisible fence wire should not be run near electric and phone lines. This is the side of the house that most of the acreage is on. What is the concern with doing this, and do you have any suggestions for how we can still fence in this side of the house? Thanks in advance for any advice!

ADMIN – Hi Ben, you can cross the utilities at a perpendicular angle to avoid interference. When running parallel, you’ll need to keep a distance between 5 to 10 feet to avoid the signal amplifying. You can guarantee the proper distance by first running the wire above ground for testing before burying.

Kristyn July 24, 2013 at 10:45 am

We have an 8 year old 75lb Lab that still acts like a pup. She’s excellent with people but other dogs make her go crazy and she wants to run after them. (Aggressively) Trying to decide if the ultra smart system would be sufficient or if the stubborn dog would be a better option for when she sees other dogs on the street. Recommendations?

ADMIN – Hi Kristyn, If your lab pain reaction is normal, then the Ultrasmart will work great. However, if you lab ignores or does not respond, then I’d recommend the Stubborn. We gauge this on experience for example, how has your lab responded to their paw being accidentally stepped on.

Lynn June 29, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Love your website! I am thinking about getting a fence for an acre. My jack russell terrier has had the run of the cul-de-sac for the past 4 years but now that we have a new puppy, we would like to get the fence for both of them. How difficult do you think it will be to train her? Do the systems come with detailed training guides?

ADMIN – Hi Lynn,

The systems all come with the manufacturer’s training directions, and we will also email you a copy of our training guide which we think is even better. You can also see our training in action on the website – we did a great set of videos showing real life training on three dogs with very different personalities.

Training a Jack Russell is not a problem. It also isn’t an issue if she is used to getting out (that situation described most of our customers … it is why they get a fence 🙂 ). But, it is important once you start the training, that you keep the dog contained until the training is completed … we don’t want to be inconsistent with the dog.

karon24k June 8, 2013 at 7:41 pm

I have 2 labs, over 100 lbs each. They are escape artists and will dig out or jump over just about any fence. Will this invisible fence keep them in the already fenced (4 ft high) back yard which is about 1/4 acre? How much should I expect to pay since I need two collars. I have two males and my neighbor has a female husky. Will it keep her dog out of my yard?

ADMIN – Hi Karon,

Depending on the system you choose, you are looking at somewhere between $300 and $400 for a good system that will contain two dogs and with a yard of 1/4 acre. The systems will not keep your neighbor’s dog out of your yard.

Alison June 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Hi! I’m about to purchase an electronic fence for my yard and was wondering if I can start the fence at one side of my house, ending on the other side. Also, there is a power line that runs above my driveway. Can I run the fence under the power line? Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Alison,

The electronic fence boundary wire needs to make a complete loop. If you want to make a U-shaped containment area, your options are to either (1) run the wire up and over the house, running the wire up a downspout, across the gutters, then down the downspout on the other side, or (2) making a U-shaped loop with the wires being at least six feet apart. You can see some diagrams in the installation section of our website;

Tim May 23, 2013 at 11:02 am

What is the best method for running the wire across a driveway? I may be resurfacing the driveway, can the asphalt be poured on top of the wire? Will this impact the signal?

ADMIN – Hi Tim,

For an asphalt driveway, the easiest way to get across is to cut a slot with a circular saw, place the wire in the slot, then seal the wire in place with an outdoor caulk or asphalt repair compound.

You can lay the wire down, then pour asphalt on top. This works very well, but you will want to run the wire through a protective conduit (like PVC pipe), otherwise, the heat of the asphalt will often melt through the insulation on the wire.

brian urdal March 29, 2013 at 9:46 pm

I’ll be installing either the Innotek 5100 or PetSafe Stubborn pet system as soon as i make up my mind. My question is i live on 3 acres and was reading about using different size wire. With 3 acres and either of those systems what would be my benefits of running a thicker wire and what size should i use? Thanks Brian

ADMIN – Hi Brian,

For a smaller installation like 3 acres, where you aren’t running either system near their capacity (25 acres and 10 acres respectively), there will be no difference from a transmission standpoint from using the thicker wire. The major benefit of the thicker wire is that it will be a lot more durable and less susceptible to wire breaks.

Thankful dog owner January 5, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Just wanted to say that my son used a clam shell post hole digger to make a trench for the wire. It works better than a shovel.

Don January 3, 2013 at 10:16 pm

What is the recommended depth of the wire?

Admin- Hi Don,

You can install the boundary wire 2 to 4 inches deep.

Butch Watson November 20, 2012 at 9:45 am

I plan on installing an invisible fence for my dog and cat. Can I bury the wire from both systems in the same trench? I have a large dog so I think I will need two different systems.

ADMIN – Hi Butch, you will not need to different systems. You can go with the PetSafe Deluxe fence any even tempered dog over 12 pounds and simply add in the PetSafe Cat containment collar to your order.

Kristin August 11, 2012 at 6:25 pm

We would like to run an invisible fence around our side yard. The transmitter box would be on the wall of an enclosed porch. Would running the wire along the ceiling of the porch and down the walls give the dogs enough clearance to go through that door into the house without being zapped? Also, any feedback on the Remington Safe Zone Electronic Fence System? Can’t find any reviews on this one. Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Kristin, clearance will depend on how you set the boundary radius. You’ll probably need to set the signal around 2-3 feet minimum. No news yet on the Remington.

Brody May 2, 2012 at 9:15 pm

First off, great website.

Question: I see that you recommend that we lay the wire out above ground first to test the system. This makes a lot of sense. However, you also recommend that we use a trencher with the wire laying attachment to bury the wire. Aren’t these two methods incompatible? I mean, once the wire is all laid out on the ground around the perimeter of my yard, how then do I bury it with the trencher? Doesn’t it need to be on the spool? I’ve got my trencher reserved for this weekend and am not sure the best approach here. Thanks for any insight.

Admin- Hi Brody,

Good question, if you already have the wire laid out and tested. The best option will be to feed the wire into the wire guide on the trencher and attach the wire to the stake. You than can hold the rolled out wire in your off hand as you trench along your path.

Ray April 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm

My yard is surrounded by woods. The only way in or out is my driveway.
I need to block a 20 foot section of driveway as though it were a gate across my driveway.
Is there a way to do this without running a loop around the entire yard?


Admin- Hi Ray,

Your best option for the front of your property will be what we call a single sided boundary. You will run twisted wire from your transmitter out to the front of your property and form the boundary loop. The boundary loop wires will need to be separated by 3-6 feet. Please see our layouts page for the Diagram.

Emily March 31, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Great information! We have Shepherd/Collie mix and will be getting a puppy as well. We need a system for about 2 acres, which one do you recommend? We also have a large area of limestone to go through that heavy equipment drives on, occasion pipe will obviously break and I think the hose is a good idea but how would get wire through the hose? We would probably need at least 2 hoses for that area. Thanks for any advice.

ADMIN – Hi Emily,

Happy to make a recommendation, What type of puppy are you getting?

For short runs of wire, you can just push the wire through. But, for longer runs, the easiest way is to get some thin “fish tape”, a stiff metal wire sold at hardware stores, and feed the fish tape through the hose, then attach the dog fence wire to the end of the fish tape, and pull it back through the hose. You can also slit the hose, and pu the dog fence wire in through the slit.

Elizabeth Gazzard March 24, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Can the wire be attached to a wire fence or will this interfere with it working correctly? My property is surrounded by a seven wire fence.

ADMIN – Hi Elizabeth,

You can attach the dog fence boundary wire to a seven-wire fence. There will not be any interference or any other issues. Zip-ties work well to hold the boundary wire in place.

Morgan H March 17, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Have have two Great Pyrenees. Bid stubborn dogs. We have a triangular lot. (2400 foot perimeter). the whole thing is fenced. Slightly rolling, but mostly flat with a very sparse wooded area in part.

1. Do you recommend the UUC-5100 system for this application ?
2. What gauge wire do you recommend for this large of a perimeter ?
3. If I don’t bury the wire, but instead attach it to the base of the fence, will it keep the dog from digging ? What does doubling do for me ? Can I accomplish the same thing with a heavier gauge wire ?

Thank you for your time.

Admin- Hi Morgan,

1) For your two stubborn Pyrenees we recommend the SportDog SDF-100a system. The SportDog collars are better build for larger dogs and offers the high correction levels for stubborn dogs.
2) For your larger property, the 18-14-gauge wire would be a good upgrade to give you a lot of added protection.
3) Since you already have the fence in place, you can simply attach the wire to the fence 12-18 inches off of the ground. We do find this to be very effective.
4) You can install the transmitter at the property line; however, the transmitter will need to be in a waterproof container. If the transmitter is installed at the properly line, you will not need any twisted wire.

Joyce M. February 26, 2012 at 11:08 pm

I am going to be installing an underground fence once spring is here (I live in Minnesota). Is there any problem with underground fencing with the freezing and thawing of the ground that goes with winter here? Also, I will be installing this fence by myself, so hopefully it is easy. I have read up on burying the wire, and I read on some sites about twisting the wire. What does this mean? I have 2 very hyper small dogs and a small yard, but with plenty of room for them to run. Will they hear the beep in time for them to correct themselves before crossing the line, or could they run outside of the wire once they realize that they can and the correction doesn’t hurt too much? Thank you, any advice is appreciated.

ADMIN – Hi Joyce,

The wire doesn’t have any problem with the freezing and thawing cycles. But, the system becomes less effective if you get a lot of snow accumulating above the wire. Once you have more than 1-2 feet of snow, the system struggles to get a strong signal at the surface.

The twisted wire is just two regular wires twisted together. You can buy wire pre-twisted or make it yourself. The twisted wire is used to create a non-correction area from the transmitter to the start of the loop. The dog can pass over the twisted section of wire without getting the correction. We have have more details in the Twisted Wire page of the website.

If you do the training with the dogs, they will be conditioned to turn and retreat as soon as they hear the beep. They should be able to avoid getting corrected most of the time, but if they are going at full speed they usually cannot turn in time. If the dogs are trained they will never realize that they can run through the line – they will assume it continues indefinitely.

Kari February 20, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Hi Stu, we are looking to purchase the Innotek 4100, however two issues. One is our puppy is currently 8 lbs but will get to be 14. Can we use this system at this point? Secondly, our property is woodland that drops off at a steep rate. We are thinking of using trees to attach the boundary wire to at a height of 7 feet. Is this too high for the collar to work? Thanks, Kari

ADMIN – Hi Kari,

(1) I suspect that at 8lbs, the collar will not fit him well – but there would be no harm in putting the collar on the dog and trying it on for size. 12lbs, seems to be the point where the collar gets to be a good fit – below that and it tends to be uncomfortable on the dog and the PetSafe Little Dog is a better choice. We usually start the training at six months, if he isn’t at least bigger than 10 lbs at that point, I would use the PetSafe or wait a little longer.

(2) You can elevate the wire, you just need to turn up the boundary width to make sure the signal is reaching the dog down at ground level. If the wire is elevated 7 feet, you will need to set the boundary dial to at least 10 feet wide. This may cause problems with the boundary being too wide in other parts of the yard where the wire is down at ground level. But otherwise elevating the wire is no problem.

Jeff February 5, 2012 at 12:42 am

I bought the Innotek UltraSmart IUC 4100 from you and t has has worked great but recently my dog has continuously escaped through the back border/section through what appears to be a dead space.

It is basically a large rectangle. The green light stays on but only 3/4 of the fence works and gets the warning & shock. The back border doesn’t emit any warning or shock so it seems dead. My neighbor installed a different fence and I know mine worked the first 6 months after his install. The two come within 10 feet at the closest along that stretch. I have tried setting the “boundary” to zero and that didn’t help the dead area. Any thoughts? Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Jeff,

My guess is that you neighbor turned up his boundary width at some time and his fence is now interfering with yours along the common boundary. The way to definitively diagnose whether it is interference, is to ask the neighbor to switch their fence off for a minute and see if yours starts working in the dead zone.

If it is indeed interference, the way to fix the issue is the move the fences further apart, to have the neighbor turn the boundary width down, or to switch to a dual frequency system that will allow you to change frequencies to avoid interference.

Mike January 19, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I’m about to run the wire loop in my backyard that is fenced and I’m just wanting to confirm that it’s best to make a loop with the wire (I’m using all 500 ft.) and how much separation between the wire? Thanks for the help!

ADMIN – Hi Mike,

You always need to run the wire in a loop. If you are just doing the backyard, people usually complete the loop by running the wire tight around the front of the house, or by going up and over the house by running the wire through the gutter.

You can also do a big U-shaped loop, but that tends to eat up a lot of your yard.

Lewis January 3, 2012 at 6:00 pm

We are wanting to run our undergound dog fence along side a electric fence we use for our horses. The fence is three strands of electric fencing and I was wondering how far I will need to stay away from this horse fence. we will have to run in line with the fence. Thanks Lewis

ADMIN – Hi Lewis,

You should be able to run the dog fence wire right alongside the electric fence wire without any problems.

Keri December 19, 2011 at 1:53 pm

We have a yard that has tons of chipmunks and have heard that they will cause considerable damage to the underground wires. Would it be possible to put the wire inside PVC tubing for additional protection?

ADMIN – Hi Keri,

You can certainly protect the wire with a conduit like PVC tubing. Also consider using the black sprinkler system tubing or old garden hose pipe, they are flexible and consequently much easier to word with than a rigid tube like PVC.

Kathie Scott October 17, 2011 at 7:47 pm

First I wanted to say that I installed the Sport Dog system in a rural area (ten acres) and it is working very well keeping our new rescue Australian cattle dog in the yard.

I wanted to let readers of this site know that we covered the wire where it crossed our asphalt driveway with a rubber runner (12 feet long and 2 feet wide). The runner is black and is not very noticeable on the driveway. It works great and no digging!

ADMIN – Hi Kathie,

Thanks for taking the time to provide that great information!

Chuck September 21, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Hi, I share a yard-border with my cousin. He has 11 acres and I have 8 acres of land. We have talked about putting in a wire fence for our dogs. Will wire work effectively over that great of distance? We won’t do the whole 19 acres, but 10 or 12 would be nice.

ADMIN – Hi Chuck,

Many of the systems can comfortably handle 10 acres with the standard wire. I would be happy using something like the PetSafe Deluxe (25 acres), Innotek IUC-4100/5100 (25 acres), Dogtra EF-3000 (40 acres), or SportDog SDF-100A (100 acres) in your situation.

skip August 28, 2011 at 4:35 pm

can i use low voltage landscaping wire for a loop or as part of the perimeter.

ADMIN – Hi Skip,

Low voltage landscaping wire is the same as dog fence wire. In general any direct burial rated, insulated wire with a copper core will do the job.

Gail August 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm

trying to find the best wire to use for the petsafe fence… can i buy it from a electrical supply store? i currently have the 20 gauge stranded, but had to dig up the yard for new driveway so am going to replace most of it… can i have 2 different wires on the loop (ie 20 gauge connected to 18 gauge)… i have some areas of the yard where the wire is just laid in the woods to self bury… how do i find the best gauge, uv resistant sheath and should it be stranded or solid core wire? thanks for you help

ADMIN – Hi Gail,

You can use pretty much any insulated singe electric wire. For the most durability, use something that says it is direct burial rated (not regular PVC insulated housing wire). This wire tends to hold up better in the ground. There is no big difference between braided and solid – braided is a little easier to work with, solid is a little more corrosion resistant.

Avoid mixing very different gauges, since the thicker gauge will have a wider field that the thinner. Not a big deal if you are mixing 18 and 20. Becomes a bigger deal if you mix say 12 gauge wire and 20 gauge wire.

Whitey July 30, 2011 at 7:18 pm

I would like to keep my dog from going onto my 16 x 20 wooden deck. He likes to mark everything on the deck. Can I run the wire along the bottom around the deck?

Hi Whitey,

Yes, you will be able to run the boundary wire around the deck. Once the boundary wire is installed around the deck your dog will not have any access to the deck.

Kevin July 19, 2011 at 6:30 pm

I purchased a Petsafe and would like to use 800 feet of stranded 14 gauge wire, do you see any problems using this wire?

Admin- Hi Kevin,

The PetSafe system is compatible and will work great with a stranded 14-gauge wire.

danielle June 17, 2011 at 1:17 pm

We would like to run our wires over our house to enclose the backyard. However the back right corner of our house is where all of our electrical, cable, phone, etc… comes in and out of our house. the wires are about two feet from the drain spout which we would be running the wire up. Will this cause interference. and if so can we run the wire up the middle of our house and then back along the top to the corner and over? I wish i could send a picture to illustrate this. Thanks for your help!

ADMIN – Hi Danielle,

If the utility wires will be running parallel to the dog fence wire, then I would find another spot for the dog fence wire. If the dog fence wire is only passing by perpendicular to the utility wires, I would not expect any problems.

Kim June 6, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Hi – We had/have an Invisible Fence at our farm – installed about 18 years ago. We gave up on it after numerous breakage issues where it ran under our dirt driveway and a “lane” that frequently has tractor traffic. In the last 2 years we’ve lost 3 dogs on the road…..and am now trying to figure out if it is worth it to reinvest in an electric fence. What about the breakage issues? Has that been solved in the past 18 years? Thanks Kim

ADMIN – Hi Kim,

For I traffic areas like driveways, we recommend running the wire through a hose or pvc pipe to protect it. You may want to bury it deeper than the typical 3 to 4 inches in the ground, especially if tractors are driving over. You may want to bury it in those areas around 12 inches down.

As for advancements, there hasn’t been any real changes to the wire over the years. One change is that there is now a wider variety of thicker wire gauges available. Our fences comes with 20 gauge wire by default, you can now upgrade your wire on our site to as large as 14 gauge.

Jed May 19, 2011 at 3:26 pm

How deep should the wire be buried?

ADMIN – Hi Jed,

The depth you bury the wire is largely up to you. The only reason for burying the wire is to protect it from lawnmowers, etc. Anything over an inch and less than a foot deep works. Try and keep the burial depth consistent, otherwise you get inconsistencies in the width of the boundary. (i.e. where the wire is buried deep the boundary zone will be a little narrower, and where the wire is buried shallow the boundary zone will be a little wider)

Mark May 10, 2011 at 10:28 am

I have just purchased the Innptek Ultra Smart IUC 4100 and I would like to put it in my backyard which actually is a fenced in area. I have a wood plank fence that is approx 4-5 feet high. I would like to put the wiring for the unit on the fence planks by stapling to the underside or wherever recommended. The dog will at times jump the fence in shorter areas and I think I could gain more yard space by placing the wire on the fence rather than several feet away buried in the yard. Do you see any problems with stapling tothe fence planks and run all the way around the fenced in back yard? Please advise, thank you.

ADMIN – Hi Mark,

You can indeed staple the wire to the fence plank. Fence mounting works great. It makes installation faster and easier. The wire is kept safe from harm, and if you do get a break, they are very easy to find and fix.

One thing to watch out for, is make sure that the staples aren’t cutting through the insulation. Sometimes when you use a high powered power stapler, it splices straight through the insulation on the boundary wire. You need to be careful when stapling the wire in place.

Paco May 9, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Hi, I just got an invisible fence system, and I will install it myself. I am afraid the cable it came with is too thin, what gauge of wire you would recommend?…I am considering the trencher option.

ADMIN – Hi Paco,

Anything 20 gauge or thicker is fine (Smaller numbers indicate thicker wire. For example, 18 gauge wire is fine, 28 gauge is not).

L.B. April 27, 2011 at 4:46 pm

I am planning to install invisible fencing in my back yard. The yard is fenced in, but I have a German Shepherd and don’t want him to jump it when he gets older. Also, there are several easements on our property, so often there are cable repair guys in the back of our yard, and I fear they may leave the gate open and my dog could get out. I am wondering about interference with several items:
The back 60 feet of fencing (back fence belongs to my neighbor and is 6 feet high) has a (charter cable co.) cable buried parallel with the fence the entire length of it. At the corner, inside my property, the cable company has their cable pedestal.directly behind the corner on another neighbor’s property is the electric company’s box (transformer?). In the front corner inside my backyard, there is another electric company box as well.
I want to run the wire parallel with the cable wire – is there anyway to do this without causing interference? also, will the pedestal and/or electric boxes cause interference as well? My grandson’s tree fort is 4 ft from the back fence, and I really wanted the dog to be able to be with him at the fort.


When you run the dog fence wire close and parallel to a utility wire, then sometimes you get the dog fence signal jumping into that utility wire. It doesn’t cause any interference for the dog fence, but it can cause the utility wire to act like it is dog fence wire, and so you get the dog fence signal turning up in strange places in your house (e.g. cable outlets, and in the walls where the cable wire runs). This is rare, but if you are going to run the dog fence wire parallel and close to utility wire, it is well worth taking the extra time to lay the wire out first and test to see if you are getting this kind of signal jumping behavior before you invest the time in burying the wire. If it does happen, your only option is to move the dog fence wire further from the cable wire. Since the fence is six feet high, a good way to avoid this kind of thing happening would be to run the dog fence wire along the middle or the top of the fence. The vertical separation should minimize the chance of the signal being induced in the utility wire.

If the tree fort is only 4 feet from the fence, I don’t think you will have much luck getting the dog into the fort. Even if the signal does not reach the fort, most dogs don’t like getting that close to the boundary.

Jake April 12, 2011 at 9:49 am

Hi, my parents and me are each getting puppies that are going to be spending lots of time together. We live at separate houses and are both considering installing systems on our properties. Is there a way we can set both systems to work on the same frequency so the two dogs can use the systems at each house and not have to purchase and switch collars each time they are in the yard together?

ADMIN – Hi Jake

If you get the same system as your parents, then your will all be able to use your own collars in the others yard. Also there are a few systems that are inter-compatible. The Innotek IUC-4100, Innotek IUC-5100 and Innotek SD-2100 are inter-compatible. The PetSafe Deluxe, PetSafe Little Dog, PetSafe Stubborn, and SportDog SDF-100A are also inter-compatible.

KARYN April 3, 2011 at 5:24 am

I have german shepherds and an australian shepherd. I’m wondering what system would work best for multiple dogs?

Admin- Hi Karyn,
We would recommend the Innotek IUC-4100. The 4100 is a great durable system that will work perfectly for your two Shepherds.

Craig Allen March 25, 2011 at 9:26 pm

We live in the country on 38 acres but have about 3 acres we would like to contain our wondering chocolate lab. Most of the wire will be buried at about 3 inches but will cross under our gravel road though a three foot deep culvert (a critical part of the fence). The entire length of the wire is approximately 2400 feet. We may be a need to control a second dog in the future. Is the culvert a problem? What system do you recommend? Thanks, Craig

ADMIN – Hi Craig,

Having the wire three feet deep in the culvert and three inches everywhere will likely be a problem. In order to get the wire to penetrate through the ground in the culvert, we will have to set up the system with a very wide boundary which will cause problems in the rest of the installation where the wire is only 3 inches deep. I would instead consider running the wire along the top of the driveway, using either a convenient expansion line or cutting a groove with a circular saw.

For a lab and three acres, you have a lot of choices. I highly recommend either the Innotek IUC-4100 if you want something rechargeable and smaller, or the SportDog SDF-100 if you want something a little cheaper. Both are excellent.

Josh March 16, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I have a lot of moles and gophers around my house that like to chew through the wire, is there any way that I could fix this?

Admin-Hi Josh,

You always could run the wire through PVC pipe or a water hose to ensure more protection from the rodents.

Peter P March 11, 2011 at 12:14 am

I live in the country and am seriously considering going around the main yard (about 2 acres) for the dog to freely roam.

I’ve read all the instructions here at the site and find the writeup very useful. One issue that I can’t resolve is how to lay out the wire first, and then use a trencher with the automatic line attachment. Any help you might offer is resolving this problem would be most welcomed.


Admin-Hi Peter,

You must lay the wire on ground along the planned route. Complete your loop around the desired location on your property and hook the wire into the control box and test the system.

Before operating the trencher, pound a stake into the ground at the beginning of your planned route. Feed the boundary wire through the wire guide on the trencher. The trencher should have a hook on the handle to hold the rolled up wire. Tie the end of the wire to the stake at the point nearest the ground.

Another option would be after the wire has been laid out and tested. You can feed the wire into the wire guide on the trencher and attach the wire to the stake. You than can hold the rolled out wire in your off hand as you trench along your path.

jerry dawson February 20, 2011 at 5:16 pm

i am about to buy the model 4100 and i have one question…..can i go under the asphalt driveway where there is an exsisting 4″ drain pipe in place for flood control. the aprox. depth is 12-18″….thank in advance…jerry

ADMIN – Hi Jerry,

Yes, that should work fine. Make sure to test the collar around that area, but you should be okay. You may need to adjust the boundary width up to compensate for the depth.

Bill Howell December 17, 2010 at 1:41 am

For salt water and other harsh environments it would seem to be advantageous to use electrical PVC tubing if you have to surface mount the wire. Waterproof and provides UV protection for the wire insulation. Have you any feedback on this type of installation?

ADMIN – Hi Bill,

You can use PVC tubing to protect the boundary wire. PVC pipe, irrigation pipe, and hose pipe all work well. I prefer using the flexible pipe over the PVC because it is a little easier to work with – but they all work.

Ron November 28, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Yes, I was wondering if you can use a rubber insulated type wire for the in-ground fence say a 12 or 14 gauge maybe. Is there a particular gauge requirement or wire type that has to be used. Also is it possible that a thicker gauge wire would possibly provide less resistance and strain on the unit. Thank You

ADMIN – Hi Ron,

You can use pretty much any insulated single wire. If possible get a wire that is direct burial rated – these will last much longer in the soil than regular housing wire. Thicker wire like 12 gauge or 14 gauge works fine, just try to be consistent – you want to use similar gauges of wire and don’t want to use wires that are very different gauges together.

Thicker wire does have lower resistance which is helpful when you are doing a very large area near the limit of your unit’s capacity. (For example doing a 20 acre installation using a system rated for 25 acres) It is of little benefit in a typical suburban installation (i.e. anything under 10 acres).

Dave Davis November 16, 2010 at 3:41 pm

I Live in Costa Rica and We have Schnauzers. We have a small wall curving around the back of the house made of cement block and painted about 90 meters long. On the other side of the wall is a deep ravine. Question… can we put the wire on the top of the wall (about 8″ wide) and keep the dogs from jumping over the wall or onto it.

ADMIN – Hi Dale,

You can indeed place the boundary wire on top of the cement wall instead of burying it. You will want to adjust the boundary width dial so that the collar triggers when the dog is around the base of the fence. You don’t want the collar triggering too late, because a dog in mid-flight sailing over the fence cannot change direction easily – you want the collar to trigger when the dog is still has all four feet planted on the ground.

Jeff Jackson November 11, 2010 at 3:18 pm

How deep can you bury the wire and still have it be effective. I have some gates in my fence that I have to go under ground to get around. I would like to bury them 18″ to 24″ but I don’t know if they will still work.

ADMIN – Hi Jeff,

The burial depth depends on how wide you set the boundary width. The big problem with burying deep is that in other sections where the wire is not buried so deep, the boundary width because very wide, which can make a lot of a yard off limits. This is particularly problematic in small lots. Generally, I try to keep depth less than a foot, and preferably less than 6 inches.

emily November 8, 2010 at 9:43 pm

I want to bury my underground fence the problem is the dish network wire runs along the garage where I need to run the fence is this a problem? They would only cross each other not run together.

ADMIN – Hi Emily,

Crossing a utility wire is not an issue. What you want to avoid is having those wires run parallel together. Since you are just crossing you will be fine.

sareh November 2, 2010 at 11:40 am

i have pavers in the circular driveway and on the entrance to the garage, a cedar fence along the sides and retaining walls with open woods in the back, how is the best method to lay out the wire in these four situations? thanks sp

ADMIN – Hi Sareh,

You have the option to bury the wire, attach it a fence, or run it up a wall all in the same install. You’ll just want to avoid creating 90 degree angles as that will create dead spots in the boundary.

Ted October 15, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Recently, our 45 lb Rot/Dobie mix decided that she can climb over our fence (aprox 4 feet high) to check out the neighborhood. In time, we expect our 55 lb Dobie/Shepherd mix to follow suit. We are considering adding an electronic fence to supplement our traditional fence. One concern is that our next door neighbor has an electronic fence that I believe is buried next to our traditional fence. To make life easier, I would like to attach the electronic fence to the traditional fence rather than burying. What system would you recommend? How durable are the collars and are they replaceable? Can the wire be threaded though conduit / pvc pipe? Thanks, -Ted

ADMIN – Hi Ted,

I’d recommend the Perimeter Technologies Deluxe Ultra because you can change the frequency on the wall transmitter to avoid the interference from your neighbors fence. Alternatively, you can choose the SportDog SDF 100A, but you’d need to contact SportDog to have them calibrate collars to the 7K frequency to avoid interference. The SportDog is the most durable collar we sell. The Perimeter collar is good, but you it requires a disposable 10 dollar battery every 3 months.

Lloyd October 11, 2010 at 2:35 pm

I am planning a system and I would like to run the wire along with an electric fence along 3 sides of the property. I would set it about 12 inches up from the ground to avoid being cut along with a rope so the deer are less likely to tear it out. The electric fence would be run in two strands about a foot and two feet above the dog fence respectively. The first question is if the electric fence charger pulsing would interfer with the signal and the second is if I should pick up UV rated wire since it will be exposed to the elements verse being buried.

ADMIN – Hi Lloyd,

You’ll need to keep a minimum distance of 6 feet separation from the electric fence and any utilities that may run parallel to the dog fence boundary wire. The PetSafe wire we sell is rated for direct burial and is UV rated. Many of our customers install it above ground.

lincoln September 23, 2010 at 11:37 am

I just moved into the country. my landlady lives about 100yards up the road and does not want my dog to sit by her door when i am not home. he doesn’t have any other bad habits that make me want to contain him and he stays on the property when i am away. i am thinking that an electric fence layed out for a single boundary –like to ban a dog from a busy road–will do the trick.
question: how long a distance seems to be needed to keep a dog from going around? Rusty is two and very smart. he is a cattle/terrier cross.
oh, and how do you manage driveways where you want the dog to be able to ride out in the car or walk with you when you are present without getting “corrected”?

ADMIN – Hi Lincoln,

I don’t love the idea of doing a single boundary across just one side, for the very reason you give – that the dog can just go around. Some of our customers swear that it works, but I am unconvinced it is a good idea particularly where the dog’s safety will be compromised if the dog goes around the fence. I am not sure how far you need to go, I imagine you would observe how far the dog usually roams and then add on a 20% safety buffer on each side.

We will generally take the collar off before taking the dog off the property. You can train the dog to walk across the boundary when you give them permission. There are full details in the training section of our website.

Jan September 3, 2010 at 10:09 pm

We live in Wisconsin and get lots of snow some winters. Will the buried wires work through the snow? How much snow?

ADMIN – Hi Jan,

The dog fence works fine in snow with a few adjustments. As the snow levels build up you want to turn up the dial on the control box that sets the boundary width. This is because as the snow starts to accumulate, the dog will be walking higher and higher over the boundary wire, so to compensate we need to turn up the signal so it get up above the snow. Once the snow starts to melt away in early spring, you will need to turn the boundary width back down again to the normal setting.

The boundary wire does not seem to care about the snow and operates just fine. The snow does not damage the boundary wire. (although if you elected not to bury the boundary wire that crosses your driveway, a snow plow may take it out)

Roger August 10, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Hi I just purchased your broken wire detector and look forward to receiving it to fix my existing system. One question though: I was thinking of somehow adding some extra slack in the burried wire to ease the tension. My assumption is that other than for rodent issues (gees, there seems to be a lot of angry critters out there! ) many breaks are caused by ground movement. I was thinking if there was some “slack” in the burried wire it might minimize breakage. Your thoughts? Is this done by professional installers?

ADMIN – HI Roger,

I think that’s a great idea, but I’m not really sure how you’d go about creating that slack. If you’re issue persist, I wonder if down the road an above ground install would be a better option.

John August 1, 2010 at 1:51 pm

I have a Lab and we are moving to the beach with a canal and boat dock. In oder to make a continuos loop the dog would not be able to go past the dock and swim, can I run the wire to the waters edge then double back the wire on top of itself making a partial boundary, or would this effect the signal of the wire. If it would then how far do I need to seperate the runs of wire so as not to effect the output signal. Lastly if is a capability, will the presence of the two wire make the signal stronger?

ADMIN – Hi John,

Unfortunately, you’ll need to keep the parallel sections of boundary wire separated by a minimum of 6 feet to keep them from interfering with each other. Alternatively, you can weight down extra wire and sink it into the water as deep as you like. That way you can have one loop that allows your lab to have access past the dock and swim.

Mick July 17, 2010 at 8:58 am

We have had a system for about 5 years around our property and our Chinese shar-Pei in the last 6 months has decided it does not want to stay in the 2 acres it has to play in. We would like to turn up the boundary of wire so it would get shocked longer and maybe stay in the yard. The problem is if we do that it cant get out our door with out getting shocked. Is there anything we can put over that part of the wire to cancel out signal there or do we have to dig up and rewire that part of loop with a double wire? And if we have to do that can we just cut the wire and use a double wire and take it over to the “A” wire and splice it in there and splice in\to “B” wire that is right there? Thanks

ADMIN – Hi Mick,

There is nothing you can do to shield the wire in one section. But, as you say you can just sever the old wire, and run the twisted wire from the transmitter in the house out to where the boundary loop begins.

PS – When a dog unlearns the boundary the first culprit is usually the collar is no longer properly fitted and no longer contacts the dog’s skin so they no longer get the correction. You may want to give that a shot.

A case in point, my parents recently mentioned to me that their fence no longer worked after about 10 years and asked if I would replace it with something newer – the collars on their dogs were hanging loose like they were the doggy equivalent of Flava-Flavs. So of course the dogs were no longer getting the correction and had over the years unlearned the boundary rules. A little tightening of the collars and quick retraining lesson and the dogs were back to being happily contained.

Henry July 10, 2010 at 10:39 pm

I have installed about 3100 feet of insulated 14 gauge stranded copper wire around my 10 acre farm. Two road crossings in the loop are incased in half inch steel conduit. A portion of the wire loop is stapeled to the underside of a board fence (above ground across small streams). I used a tractor and a home made plow to berry most of the wire between 2 and 5 inches deep. Will this installation work with the signal generators you sell? which one(s) are best. If it will not work, how should I modify the installation?

ADMIN – Hi Henry,

Sounds fine – as long as you have a nice continuous loop the signal generator (base station) will work fine. With that large area and the deep burial – you want to use a system that can handle about double the size of your farm, so get something that would be able to do 20+ acres. Two good choices would be a PetSafe IUC-4100 or a SportDog SDF-100.

Chris July 6, 2010 at 11:43 pm


I was wondering how close the dog gets to the boundary before the collar stops beeping? Thanks.

ADMIN – Hi Chris,

The boundary width is adjusted with a dial on the wall transmitter. You can adjust it typically between a few inches from the line up to 10 plus feet from the wire. For most systems, the first 10 to 20 percent of the boundary width is the warning zone. A good rule of thumb is to set the boundary so it is 3-5 feet feet on either side of the wire.

Sean July 3, 2010 at 8:56 pm

Hello again (previous question above)

Just got everything in, and am about to layout the wire, but I just got stumped by the logistics of actually weaving the wire through the chain-link. It seems like I would have to start with one end of the wire and just kind of pull it through weaving it through the fence as I go along. However after just a few dozen feet, I imagine the wire would be tough to pull and even risk damaging it by putting to much force and scratching the wire insulation against the chain-link.

Is there a better way to do this? Should I just make splices every 100 feet or so? Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Sean,

I usually do a very loose weave, so am only weaving it through once every ten feet or so. This lets me pull the wire through pretty easily. An even easier way to do it is to just ziptie the wire to the chain link ever ten feet – that way you don’t even need to pull the wire through.

I would not splice every 100 feet. The splices tend to be the weakest point in the fence and so the fewer wire joints you have the better.

Mike June 24, 2010 at 10:46 pm

I am considering the IUC-4100. One area through which I need to run the loop has a large tree with roots on the surface. Would you suggest making a shallow cut into the roots, running the wire through the cuts, and then covering the wire with soil. I don’t want to bring the wire out of the ground and over the root because that would expose the wire to my lawn mower. Any other suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

ADMIN – Hi Mike,

You’re idea will work fine. You could alternatively run under any roots you come across. That is not too much work with just a few roots, but is a major pain where there are lots of large roots.

T nelson June 22, 2010 at 9:57 am

We need a system for a yard that is not circular. Primarily a long straight line to keep our dog from running in the street that borders our rural property. we don’t mind if he runs in the opposite direction as it has no streets. Is there any way to do this?


Yes, you can run a length of twisted wire out to the area you want to create your boundary. Then run a long thin loop down the length of the boundary you need. Make sure that the parallel sections are at least separated by 6 feet.

Sean June 19, 2010 at 2:43 am

Hello, thanks for the informative site and advice. I just ordered the Petsafe stubborn kit and extra collar. I am going to need more than the included 500 ft of wire included with the kit. What are your thoughts on just getting some solid core copper wire from the home improvement shops? Would getting a thicker gauge lessen the likelihood of breaks?

The entire property is currently enclosed in chain-link, but the dogs have recently figured out they can dig under certain spots to chase the neighborhood cats. I was hoping to run the wire along the base of the existing chain-link, but there are a lot of weeds that grow along some parts of it. I don’t suppose the wire would take well to being clipped by a weed-whacker. Do you have any suggestions? I’m thinking I could either run it at the top of the fence, or maybe even just a foot above the ground.

ADMIN – Hi Sean,

You can definitely use wire from a hardware store. (You can also pick up some additional marking flags and waterproof splices while you are there) You want to try and match the wire, so that it is a consistent gauge all the way around. When you mix gauges, the signal strength varies – thicker wire will have a wider boundary width than sections with a thinner gauge. You also want a wire that says that it is “direct burial” rated – the coating on this wire will protect it better from your soil (you don’t want to use regular house wiring, it will corrode). Thicker gauges aren’t particularly helpful – the kind of thing like a weed whacker that cuts wire will just as easily slice through thick wire as thin.

I would definitely run the wire above the spots where you use the edger. Usually a foot above the ground level is fine.

Kalee June 10, 2010 at 9:05 pm

I only want to lay wire around my fence to keep my dog from digging out. The innotek system I bought says I need to create a double loop with 6 ft between, but my property line backs up on an alley that is concrete. Can I just put twisted wire along the back of the house to make the loop?

ADMIN – Hi Kalee,

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 loop to the transmitter or connect one boundary loop to a second boundary loop.

To solve your problem, you can also run the boundary wire in the gutters so that your dog can safely walk underneath. If you have at least a 6 foot fence, you can also run your loop along the top of the fence and double back along the ground and that would give you the 6 feet of separation you need. We have several layout solutions on our site here: http://www.dogfencediy.com/installation/plan/

Bryan May 12, 2010 at 8:07 pm

I only need to lay wire on the front part of my property where my house will be in the middle of the wire I run. I know my run still has to be in a loop which I should be able to do by using the crawl space under the house but there are certain spots (driveway) where I know I will have to lay the cable on top of its self when I loop back to the house to complete the loop. Is this ok? I read somewhere that there needed to be a 3-5ft gap between cable runs but I wont be able to do that without putting it on my neighbors property. Thanks for all the great info on this site. -Bryan

ADMIN – Hi Bryan,

Unfortunately you cannot lay the wire back over itself, otherwise the signals from the two opposing wires will cancel each other out and you will get a dead spot! Wires need to be keep 6 feet apart form each other, so if your layout requires crossing your driveway twice, you will need to do it in two separate spots.

Brian May 6, 2010 at 2:17 am

Hello! We are moving into a new house soon and would like to keep our dogs out of the living room. I’ve looked at the wireless indoor systems, but due to the area we want to protect, it just isn’t feasible. The line we don’t want them to cross is about 20 feet wide between the dining room and the living room. We have a basement under that area with the floor joists running in the right direction. If I put the wire for a typical outdoor fence up between the floor joists (since I can get there from the basement), will the signal be strong enough to get through the floor? There’s 3/4 inch plywood decking and 3/4″ hardwood on top of that.
Alternatively, I can put wire just under the hardwood as it is being put down this week. What do you think? Thanks, Brian

ADMIN – Hi Brian,

I would run it under the wire under joist, the signal will get through fine – if need be we can just turn up the boundary width dial a little to compensate for the layers of wood the signal needs to go through. I prefer to run the wire in the basement, rather than directly under the hardwood because it is more accessible if you ever need to make a change in layout. Congrats on getting everything finished and starting the move-in!

Patrick May 1, 2010 at 10:44 am

I am planning my installation(going with the PetSafe Ultrasmart) and have a question in regards to laying the dog fence cable on top of/in the same trench as another low voltage lighting cable(12ga). I have a small channel/trench across my driveway, approx 20ft, that I would like to use to lay both cables in(in order to cross the driveway), then I plan on using an outdoor cement caulk to seal them both into the driveway in one place.
Will the low voltage lighting cable cancel out the dog fence cable?
I’ve read that other dog fence cables can cancel out each other if they’re too close and in parallel, but what about cable for landscape lighting. The most voltage that will be going through this should be no more than 15volts.
Thanks and I look forward to your response,

Hi Patrick,

We rarely get interference from low voltage lighting, but what can happen if you have parallel sections of wire is that the dog fence signal gets induces in the low voltage lighting cable. Then everywhere that your low voltage lighting goes you would get the dog fence signal. The only way to know for certain is to lay out the wire, connect it up and then take the collar out and test if you are getting the dog fence signal wherever the lighting cable runs.

Kimberly April 27, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Hello – We purchased the Invisible Fence system several years ago. We have now moved and wanted to get it reinstalled but it is going to cost $900+ for a much smaller area than we want to fence. We are thinking about doing it ourselves. My question is this: will the wire you sell work with the Invisible Fence brand fence? I would believe it would but wanted to ask before I purchase – we would like to fence about 3-4 acres.
Thank you for your time, Kimberly

ADMIN – Hi Kimberly,

The wire we sell will work with an Invisible Fence branded system. In fact, you can also use hardware store wire if that is more convenient. Just look for a single insulated copper wire that says that it is direct burial rated. Direct burial rated wire holds up better in the ground than regular wire. Both solid and stranded wire are fine.

Mark March 10, 2010 at 11:30 am


Just moved into a new neighborhood with approx. 1/2 acre. Previously didn’t have to worry about our 100lb lab getting out and about, but now the old boy (10 years old) needs to be contained in our yard. 1.) What system would you recommend? 2.) How do you go about getting across a driveway with the wire?

Thanks, Mark

ADMIN – Hi Mark,

The PetSafe Ultrasmart would be a great choice for a lab, it is are all round favorite system. To get across the driveway, you would cut a shallow slot in the concrete using a circular saw fitted with a masonry blade (or use a preexisting expansion joint). Place the wire in the slot, then caulk over with an outdoor caulk.

Linda March 6, 2010 at 8:02 am

We are getting a standard poodle puppy. We also just had a house built for us.
I would like to install the fencing just around the back yard, its a nice size but not huge I would say around a quarter acre. How do I install this so that it is neutral around the back of the house and patio area. I really do not want to take it around the whole perimeter of the property. Also our back yard goes about 25 feet into a wooded area.
I would like to train the dog to go there to do its business. What is the distance that the dog has to stay away from the fence. That part of the fencing I would not bury.
Thats muchly

ADMIN – Hi Linda,

You can set the distance that the dog needs to stay away from the wire using the “boundary distance” dial on the control box. You can adjust it from a few inches to ten+ feet, but most people will want it set at between three and five feet. Any less and it becomes hard to train the dog, any more and it wastes too much space.

Generally once trained the dog will not get too close to the correction area, and will keep about three feet away. So if you want to train the dog to go potty in the woods, I would run the wire at least ten feet into the woods, but if you are not burying the wire, it should be easy to just run it the full 25 feet (or more!).

To make sure the back of the house is not active, a couple of options would be to either run the wire tight around the front of the house, or to run the wire up a downspout, across the gutter and down a downspout .. that vertical separation over your back door will let the dog come in and out of the house.

Rachel February 13, 2010 at 4:47 pm

I would like to put of fencing for my husky and boxer (mostly for the husky) we live in northern ontario and it is feb. Is there anyway to do it right now she has escaped everything I have tried. I hate tying her. I live on 32 acres would like to fence at least 5. Any help would be appreciated

ADMIN – Hi Rachel,

For winter, most people just lay the wire on top of the snow. Maybe weigh it down in a few places with rocks or use staples to stop it moving too far. Then when the spring comes and the snow melts out you can do the final buried installation.

Ryan Plummer February 11, 2010 at 11:53 am

I have two 6 month old Golden Retrievers, brothers on is 50pds and the other 27pds. I don’t worry to much about them as far as the training they are both very smart, but due to budget issues I find myself smack in the middle of winter ready to purchase my system. I am looking towards the IUC-5100, due to the training aid. I already have training collar but wanting the ease of one system and not having to buy a separate collar for corrections inside the fence I think the system will fit. My big question is I have 5 acres, 3.5 is fenced in for large animals. I will be doing the entire perimeter but only have to bury the front smaller portion. What works in the winter for installation? Or am I better to just lay the wire out right now to start using the system and just staple it (where I can) and then bury in the spring once I thaw? I would really like to start training (using the system) due to living on a busy highway and these guys are replacements for my 5 yr old I lost last summer, to the road. All suggestions would be appreciated.

ADMIN – Hi Ryan,

I would avoid doing a winter installation. What I would do is just lay the wire out on the surface, weighing it down in a couple of spots to stop it moving too much, and stapling where you can. Then lay out the flags and right into the training. As you said, when the weather warms up, you can do the permanent installation.

Greg n TN January 22, 2010 at 10:40 am

I have a circle concrete drive way that the wire would have crossed three times (and one area is wide enough for three cars to park side-by-side). Is there a product or recommendation for going over the concrete vice burrowing under (which would be difficult). Thanks

ADMIN – Hi Greg,

Yeah, tunneling under three car wide driveway is not fun! Most people will go across an existing expansion joint. You put the wire in the joint and then caulk over. If you don’t have one convenient you can cut a shallow slot with a circular saw, place the wire in the slot and caulk over. Some people will also lay it over the driveway (sometime protect in say an old hosepipe – sometimes just bare) but I think it looks a little messy and avoid doing it that way.

jeb January 20, 2010 at 12:07 am

would shielded phone wire work the same as your buried cable! it has a copper sheath inside! would this cause a problem? also how deep can you bury it without causing a problem?

ADMIN – Hi Jeb,

I have never tried it, but I imagine the shielding may cause some problems and interfere with the signal transmission. You can bury up to a foot deep, you just need to turn the boundary width up to compensate. You usually don’t bury more than an inch or two, all most people really want is for the wire to be kept safe from the mower and the edger.

Ann December 31, 2009 at 10:17 pm

I live oceanfront Hawaii with a Jack Russell Terrier. How will these systems hold
up to salty moist conditions. I would also be unable to bury the wire as we are solid

ADMIN – Hi Ann,

We see a little faster deterioration in salty conditions especially where you get nicks in the wire. I would conservatively plan on replacing the wire more frequently, say every five years instead of every ten plus years. You may get a lot longer, but that would be a bonus. Be really careful where you splice the wire to make sure all the exposed wire is encased in the waterproof splice.

Nick December 4, 2009 at 6:32 pm

Hi, with this system can you place the wire next too metal fencing or hang it on metal fencing and still have it work?

ADMIN – Hi Nick,

You can place the wire on a metal fence and it will still work fine (the wire is insulated). If you have chain link, you can weave it through the fence or zip-tie it in place.

John October 29, 2009 at 11:09 pm

I have 2 Huskies who have dug under my fence and gotten away several times. If I staple the wire on the top of my four foot fence and increase the frequency, will it also deter them from digging?
What system do you recommend for this particular breed, assuming of course that you are familiar with this breed.

ADMIN – Hi John,

Huskies are funny, I think most husky owners would agree they are notorious escape artists and can be very independent (read stubborn). But, they seem to be very sensitive to the correction and despite their reputation for being hard to train, they seem to learn very quickly on a pet containment system (perhaps all they need is a bit of motivation). I would use any regular system (not the stubborn dog). The two premium fences , the Innotek IUC-5100 or PetSafe Ultrasmart, are good choices because they help you get the collar fitted correctly, something that can be tricky with the husky undercoat. But pretty much any good reliable system will do.

Stapling to the top of the fence would work fine, you will just need to adjust the boundary width to make sure it reaches the bottom. That should take care of all digging and fence jumping.

PS – are the dogs over six months, I am guessing that if huskies aren’t jumping over a four foot fence they are puppies? If so, you should try and wait till they are six months old.

Jeff October 8, 2009 at 9:10 am

Actually, limestone rock with lots of skunks. ..Also a good reason to move. Can i put the wire inside tubing or hose-pipe? As much rain as we get in TN the bitter apple spray would be a regular chore. thanks for the help!

ADMIN – Sure, old hose pipe is perfect for the job. I was thinking try the bitter apple for a week or two and maybe they will form a bad association and stop doing it permanently.

Jeff October 7, 2009 at 8:51 pm

My backyard is approx. 1.5 acres of limestone. Burying the wire is very difficult. I tried leaving the wire lay on top, but rodents chewed thru the wire at least twice a week. Any suggestions.

ADMIN – Hi Jeff,

You live on a sandstone rock with lots of rats, my first suggestion is that you should move 🙂

Seriously, try spraying the wire with something unpleasant like bitter apple, to see if that will break them of the habit?

Ken September 27, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Does it matter how much the terrain goes up and down with in the fenced area. My back yard slopes downhill quiet a bit into the woods.

Also how much wire comes with set if any?

ADMIN – Hi Ken,

You can run the wire along hilly terrain. This is one of the advantages of the underground systems, they cope much better with undulating terrain than the wireless system.

Most of the systems come with 500 feet of wire.

Mark September 22, 2009 at 3:55 pm

I’m also contemplating a sprinkler system for my yard. Could the electric fence cable be laid in the same trench as the sprinkler line? It would be ideal to only have to trench once!

ADMIN – Hi Mark,

The sprinkler and dog fence wire can happily coexist. Perhaps mankind can learn something from this example!

Paul September 20, 2009 at 8:36 am

It is going to be fall here soon and I will be done mowing my grass. Can I staple the wire on the surface for training this winter and then pull the wire up again in spring after the dogs are trained or does the wire and collars need to be on forever?

ADMIN – Hi Paul, you will need to keep using the wire and collars. Once the dogs learn the new boundary rules, they would tend to stay inside even if you pulled out the system. But, eventually they would learn that that there is no longer a consequence for leaving the boundary area. It may take several months for them to make this realisation but it would eventually happen.

You could staple it to the ground now for training, and after the winter – pull it up and then bury the wire

Steve September 11, 2009 at 9:47 pm

This may be a dumb question, but would it matter how high I fasten the wire to the fence? I like the idea for the ease, but want to place it high so my dog doesn’t mess with it. Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Steve, you can fasten the wire to the top of the if you want, you will just need to turn up the boundary width so that the signal reaches the bottom of the fence.

I would not worry too much about of the dog messing with the wire. With their collar on, they will not want to be near the wire, certainly not for long enough to say chew on it.

Frank August 27, 2009 at 11:33 am

Using the no-dig method: If I wanted to set up this system as a trial run, to make sure it worked for my needs, could I just staple it to my wooden fence, above ground?

My understanding of how this system works indicates that I should be able to.

ADMIN – Yes absolutely. In fact, if you already have a fence you can permanently staple or zip tie the wire to the fence and save a lot of time on installing the underground fence system.

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