Marking Utilities and Obstacles

The first thing we need to do is have your underground utility lines marked so you know where to be careful when digging.  811 is a free service that alerts water, sewer, electricity, cable and gas suppliers to mark your property with the route of any underground utility lines.  Simply call 811 and the utility companies will mark their underground utility lines with either flags or spray paint.  It can take up to  a week so you will want to call now.  If you have privately installed any utilities like a septic system or lines for gas cylinders you will want to mark these as well.  Most utilities are deeply buried (over a foot deep) and you will only be burying the cables a few inches deep so usually underground utilities are not an issue, but it is better to be safe than sorry and dig carefully in areas where utilities are located.

If possible mark the location of any sprinkler system lines or low voltage power lines for any outdoor lighting system you have had installed.  If you can’t determine the location of these lines, make your best guess.  Damaging a sprinkler line or a low voltage power line is not a big deal, both are easy to fix.  Just be sure to shut off the water and power before you start digging.

Diagram Your Yard

On grid paper, sketch a rough map of your property showing any buildings, paths, driveways, garden beds,  underground utilities and other obstacles.  Figure out which parts of the garden you want to give your dog access to and which parts you want to block access to.

Decide where you will locate the transmitter box.  The transmitter should be located near a power outlet and protected from the elements.  Inside a garage or electrified shed is ideal.

Now determine where you will run your fence.  The fence needs to make a complete loop starting and ending at the transmitter box.  You will use a pair of wires twisted together in places where you want the dog to be able to cross the wire safely. For more details on twisted wire, see here.

Design Principles

Some things to keep in mind when deciding on the placement of wires:

  1. Cross utility lines at right angles – you want to avoid running wire close to a utility line for an extended stretch because, in some rare instances a boundary wires running close to a utility wire can induce a signal in the utility wire making part of your home wiring trigger the collar receivers.
  2. Round corners –  boundary wires should turn corners gradually, avoiding sharp 90 degree turns.
  3. Separate parallel boundary wires – Boundary wires emit signals that will cancel each other out, so you want any boundary wires that are parallel to each other to be at least six feet apart.  Similarly, if your neighbors have a dog fence, keep your wires about six to ten feet from theirs.

Sample Layouts

Perimeter Dog Fence Layout

Dog Fence Basic LayoutThe most popular layout runs along your yard’s perimeter.  This layout allows your dog access to the entire property.

The twisted wire joins the house transmitter box to the boundary wire.  This enables the dog to safely walk over the twisted wire path.

Where possible lay the boundary wire two yards back from the road to give a good safety buffer for you dog and to allow a space for pedestrians.  Also try to allow three yards between the boundary wire and the house on at least one side to allow the dog room to pass between the front and back yard.

Backyard Dog Fence Layout

The challenge in doing a backyard only installation is that you want the house side of boundary to be inactive so your dog can freely enter and exit your home without getting the correction. However, for the system to work, you still need a full loop of single (untwisted wire). There are a number of approaches you can take:

Backyard Dog Fence LayoutThe easiest way to make a complete loop, while only giving the dog access to the backyard is to make a loop that goes tight around the front of the house too. This completes the loop, but there is not enough space around the front of the house for the dog to have access to the front yard. When you do this type of layout, it is important to do a quick check with the collar inside the house to make sure that the signal is not inadvertently spilling into the house in rooms where you dog will stay. If there is a problem, just decrease the boundary width, or move the wire a little further from the front of your house.

Dog Fence Gutter LayoutAnother popular method is go high over the back of your house. Run the 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 setting on the control box until you are getting no spill. This method does not work with the PetSafe YardMax system in YardMax mode.

Dog Fence Layout Double LoopThe final method is to go around the three sides of the yard, then double back on yourself to make a U-shaped loop. The two opposite wires need to be separated by at least six feet to avoid the signals from one loop from interfering with the other.  If they are too close you will not get a nice strong signal along the boundary, and you may have dead spots where there is no correction at all. If you already have a tall fence in place, on way to achieve this without digging is to run one leg of the wire along the top of the fence, and the return leg along the bottom of the fence, so you get the necessary separation. This layout will not work with the PetSafe YardMax system in YardMax mode.

Exclusion Zones

You can also add small exclusion zones to keep your dog out of small areas within your property. For example you may want your dog to have full access to your yard except a small garden bed.To do this you loop some boundary wire around the area you want to protect and join the loop to the main loop with some twisted wire. This does not work with the PetSafe YardMax in YardMax mode.

Figure 8/Hourglass Layout 

The hourglass layout contains the dog in both the front and back yard, but does not allow the dog to cross between the front and back yard. This is great if you want the dog with you in the front or back yard but do not want them crossing between them.
Note that the two loops are connected to each other on the left hand side of this diagram and that they both connect to the transmitter box on the right hand side. One note, where the wires are close to each other as it creates the center of the “hourglass”, you will still want to make sure that they are at least 10 feet apart so as not to have signal interference with its own signal.

Single-sided Boundary Layout

With a bit of inventiveness, you can create a single sided boundary. The only stipulation is that the twisted wire section can only be half the length of the looped boundary wire. For example, if your loop is 100 feet in a circle, you can only run 50 feet of twisted wire back. This install is very popular with people who live in a rural setting and they want to protect their dog from running out onto the freeway. You simply run a long length of twisted wire from the wall transmitter out to the road. Create a long, skinny loop of boundary wire, remembering to keep the parallel sections a minimum of 6 feet separated to avoid the wires interfering with each other. The key for success of this installation method is run your loop far enough along the road so that your dog doesn’t run around it. This layout will not work with the PetSafe YardMax system in YardMax mode.

Lake Front Layout

On a lake front property, if you’d like to incorporate the lake into your fence you have several options.  Do note that there is no danger for your dog to receive a correction when swimming.  The correction level will not change or pose any sort of safety threat.  When incorporating the lake, it’s useful to know if your lake front gradually gets deeper or simply drops off.  Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish will determine how you go about incorporating the lake.  It’s recommended when sinking wire into a lake to run it into a water hose or irrigation hose and sink it to the bottom.  This will protect the wire from critters and fishing hooks.

Lakefront Option One is to simply submerge extra boundary wire out into the lake at your desired distance. Do you want your dog to just be able to walk into the lake a few feet so she can get a drink or lay down in the water to cool off? Or do you want to sink the wire over 10 feet so that she can go for a deeper swim or freely jump into the boat when the family goes out? You’re goal will determine how much wire you plan to sink. Dog Fence Lake Installation Option 1
Lakefront Option Two if you have enough yard space, you can use a double back approach to create a three-sided boundary. Simply set an extra length into the lake when doubling back so that your dog will not be able to easily run around the fence. This layout will not work with the PetSafe YardMax system in YardMax mode. Dog Fence Lake Installation Option 2
Lakefront Option Three is a modification of the first where you incorporate the dock and boat house, but the lake is otherwise not incorporated into the fence plan. Dog Fence Lake Installation Option 2

Gate on the Boundary

Dog Boundary Gate LayoutThe Boundary Gate allows you to create a “gate” along the boundary where there is no correction. This is useful where you have a physical gate that you want to use in this section instead of the electronic fence. For this layout to work, you will need to use the double back layout and keep the parallel wires separated by at least six feet. Where you get to the non-correction gate area, you will bring the two wires together and twist them. This layout will not work with the PetSafe YardMax system in YardMax mode.

Since this requires a lot of extra wiring, many people find it easier to use a non-layout solution. Instead when they create a virtual gate, training the dog that when they you take off their collar and give them permission, they can walk through the gate without fear of correction. This is covered in more detail in the Dog Fence Training section of the website where we look at walking your dog through the boundary.

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{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

Doug January 15, 2011 at 2:54 pm


ADMIN – Yes, you can run as many loops as you want with all the systems. You will connect the first loop to the transmitter using the twisted wire. Then connect the second loop to the nearest point in the first loop also using twisted wire.

See the diagram on this page labelled exclusion zone. Your wiring will be similar to that diagram. (note the loops do not need to be nested inside each other like in that example, they can have any configuration you want.

Eddie Smo January 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Thanks much. One more question I just thought of. Would system work about 10 ft. above ground. I have trees all the way around my property and was thinking of running the wire through eye hooks on the tree’s. What’ya think?

ADMIN – Hi Eddie,

You can definitely run the wire above ground, but I think 10 feet above ground will be too high. You would need to really turn up the boundary width dial to get the signal to reach down to ground level where the dog will be. Most systems would not be able to produce 10 foot wide boundaries. It may work if you get a system that is a lot more powerful than what you would regularly use for your boundary area. (e.g. if you had a 2 acres yard and used a SportDog SDF-100A that is rated to handle 100 acres)

Eddie Smo January 9, 2011 at 5:54 pm

I just bought an invisible fence and am ready for installation. The only problem is there is about an inch and a half of snow on the ground. Even when it melts the ground will still be hard. Any suggestions; Do I absolutely have to bury it or can I fasten to the ground somehow?

ADMIN – Hi Eddie,

You can staple the wire to the ground with lawn staples. The burial isn’t necessary for the system to work, it works equally well above ground. Burial is usually only done for aesthetic reasons or to protect the wire from the dreaded lawnmower. In winter, most people staple the wire to the ground until the snow melts and then they do the permanent burial.

Lana January 2, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Hi Stu, we are looking for a fencing system to contain our golden retrievers to our 5+ acre property. Our neighbor recently installed a system on his property and we are amazed at how well it has worked for their lab. We would like to run the wire right along the edge of the property so we can plow the fields when needed without worrying about the wire. However, I’m not sure if the innotek iuc-4100 system has an adjustable frequency to prevent interference with the neighbor’s system that runs along his side of the fenceline. We like the idea of waterproof collars that are rechargeable and also like the idea of the training remote. We need a system that will expand to accommodate at least 3 collars. We have a big metal barn on the property so the wireless version won’t work for us.

ADMIN – Hi Lana,

When your neighbor has a dog fence system, interference can occur depending on the frequency they are set up on, and whether they are operating on AM or FM. The best way to find out if you will get interference is to rig up a small section and see if the collars are triggering properly. If you have 10 feet of separation between your boundary wire and theirs, you are almost guaranteed no interference.

If you do get interference you either need to move the wires further apart, turn down the boundary strength of both systems or change the frequency. Unfortunately the Innotek systems will not let you adjust the frequency.

The SportDog SDF-100A does have adjustable frequencies and would also be a good choice if the dogs are over 20lbs. The SportDog is not rechargeable but uses regular 9V batteries, so you could get rechargeable batteries and effectively make the system rechargeable. The Perimeter Technologies Ultra lets you switch frequencies but has the dreaded proprietary battery. Both those systems have good waterproofing, so your Golden Retrievers can swim to their heart’s content.

All the wired dog fence systems will let you have an unlimited number of dogs on the same system – just in case you ever want to open a dog sanctuary!

Let us know if you need any further assistance!

Megan December 31, 2010 at 11:24 pm

We are buying a new home that is not fenced in. Our dogs have always lived with a fence, so whenever they get the chance at an un-fenced home, they bolt. So, we desperately need to install a fence when we move. It sounds like it’s okay to just lay the wire above the ground now – and permanently install it when the snow melts and ground is soft? Any advice for making it stay in place over the snow without any attachments?

Thank you – we are very excited about the possibility! Your site is so helpful!

ADMIN – Hi Megan

For installation of a electric dog fence in winter, when the ground is frozen, it is indeed fine to lay the wire on the ground until the ground thaws and you can do your permanent installation. You can either weigh the wire down in a few places, or staple it down to stop the wire moving. The only place where it is important to bury the wire now is across the driveway if you get it plowed.

Nathan December 27, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your patience.

I just got a German Shepard/ rottweiler mix who is approximately a year and a half. He seems very smart but i have a couple concerns. one, it’s winter here in Minnesota and the frozen ground is currently under snow. I’d like to just make a smaller area in my back yard, just for the winter, then redo the system in the summer. can an average dog relearn new boundaries? What is your advice about possible options? we have lots of deer and wildlife so i think i should just lay it on the snow? ( and hope nobody drives there snowmobile over it) . can the wire be ran inside conduit or pvc to either protect it or cancel signal for doorway?

thanks for your patience and sorry if my question was redundant, i read and read but didn’t see another question like this, thanks, Nate

ADMIN – Hi Nate,

Dogs will relearn the boundaries but it takes a bit of training and a bit of time (I would say 1-2 months is typical). So while it is certainly preferable to do the final layout the first time around, it is no big deal if you need to retrain the dog after a few months. Just layout out the flags when you do the retraining, and take the dogs across the old borders a few times on the leash and play with them in the expanded area to show them it is ok. (confidence when leading the dogs into the new area always helps – they will be reluctant the first few times so you will need to drag them)

Appreciate the compliment. It is us that should be thanking you and all our other customers for making it possible to make a living doing something we love.

Brad December 25, 2010 at 12:39 pm

“the boundary wire always has to form a complete loop. You cannot use the twisted wire to replace a section of boundary wire.” That is in contradiction of your exclusion zone diagram! Technically in that picture you are using twisted wire to continue your loop.

ADMIN – Hi Sharpshooter Brad,

You are correct. Technically the twisted wire is used to complete the loop. What we are struggling to communicate in words is that you cannot insert a length of twisted wire into the loop to replace a section of single boundary wire.

Robin December 23, 2010 at 3:29 pm

I have a 4′ wide walkway in my yard, with low voltage lighting running along both sides. My planned fence wire layout will pass over the lighting wiring at a about 90 degrees. Will this interfere with fence signal?

ADMIN – Hi Robin,

Interference problems happen when you have long stretches of parallel wires. When wires cross at 90 degrees it is not an issue.

For other readers that might be running their dog fence wire parallel to low voltage lighting, what you need to check for is that the dog fence signal does not leak into the low voltage lighting wiring. Lay out the dog fence wire and plug in the system. Then take the dog fence collar and test where the low voltage lighting wires run and make sure you aren’t getting the dog fence signal in these unintended places.

dan December 22, 2010 at 11:58 pm

Trying to solve the backyard only questions. If I put the charger at one corner of the house, and run the twisted wire along the face of the house, and connect one end to the end of the boundary wire, and connect the other strand to a single strand wire which comes back alongside of the twisted to connect to the other end of the boundary wire near the charger will it cancel the signal in this section or will the fact that the current is going out two wires and back in one still emit a signal?

ADMIN – Hi Dan,

In any scenario that you’re talking about will create live section of wire along the back of the home. Every splice on a dog fence system is a one wire to one wire splice. If you try to create any “dead areas” with twisted wire, you’ll be forced to splice two wires into one or one wire to another with a left over wire. Either case will create a live section of boundary wire. The only backyard options are illustrated above. You either have to suspend the wire high enough to place the signal out of range, run the wire around the front of home, or create a 3 sided boundary by doubling back.

Cody December 15, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Hi, i have a question. Is their any way to make the boundary wire not give off a signal? or possibly just a significantly weaker signal for one side of the boundary (the side with the transmitter), perhaps putting the wire in a metal pipe? or a pvc pipe? We have 2 black labs. The area that we are fencing has a perimeter of about 2000 ft but we only need to cancel out the signal for about 200 ft. We cant put it above because of tree limbs falling. Any ideas?

ADMIN – Hi Cody,

Unfortunately no, there isn’t a way to create a dead area in the boundary loop. I’m not confident that suspending the wire in the air for 200 feet is an option either. The main options for layouts are the ones above on this page.

Steve December 6, 2010 at 10:01 am

Hi, We have a 3/4 acre yard with a pond bordering the back. We want the dog to be able to swim and play fetch in the pond (collar off of course) I understand the need for a complete loop. If you can use two sections of twisted wire to create an “exclusion zone” which keeps the loop, can I use twisted wire onlong the back to allow access to the pond. Thanks in advance

ADMIN – Hi Steve,

Afraid you can’t use the twisted wire along the back side of the fence. If you use the twisted wire in that way, it will act like a regular active wire. Take a look at the lake layouts we have posted for some other ideas.

FYI – if you are going to take the collar off when playing with your dog in the pond section of the yard, you could just train the dog to go past the boundary only when you take the collar off and give him permission. Basically, you create a sctructured routine that lets the dog know when it is ok to cross the boundary. For more details, take a look at the Training section of the website.

Chuck December 5, 2010 at 10:31 pm

I have 2 acres to cover with a perimeter layout, so it is about 1600ft to 2000ft of wire. I had a person come out and quote me a price and they install 12gauge wire in ground instead of 16gauge or 20gauge. He said that the thicker wire is needed for the longer distances and supposed to be stronger and last longer. Does this make much sense or is he just blowing smoke? Will the 20 or 16 gauge wire work just fine?

ADMIN – Hi Chuck,

There is a modest transmission improvement with the thicker wire. But, the distance/area ratings on all the systems (except the Dogtra) are calculated based on using the standard 20 gauge wire. So for the Innotek 4100 you can do 25 acres with 20 gauge and for the SportDog SDF-100A you can do 100 acres with 20 gauge. You might get some benefit if you are operating near the limit of a system with the thicker wire. But, if you are just doing a small area like 2 acres, I would not expect to see any benefit.

At least for us, when we do installations the only reason we use the thicker wire is to stand up to the abuse from the industrial trenchers we use or to satisfy a customer that absolutely wants the thicker wire. There is rarely any functionality reason for using the thicker wire – the 20 gauge recommended by the manufacturers works great for the vast majority of situations.

Jeff December 2, 2010 at 12:07 pm

What’s the real story with choosing wire gauge for the system we’ll be installing? Are the 18ga or 16ga “heavy-duty” wires necessary for longer runs? We are starting out with the 2 acres near the house, but will consider covering 15 acres eventually.

ADMIN – Hi Jeff,

The systems all come with 20 gauge standard from the manufacturer (except Dogtra – they use 18 gauge). The manufacturers all recommend 20 gauge and in our experience it works great. Some folks think that the slightly thicker 18/16 gauge last longer – that has not been the case in our experience, anything that cuts the 20 gauge (power edgers and power aerators) cuts the thicker wire just as easily.

I think the rumor got started because some of the full service installation companies like invisible fence use the thicker wire. But, the reason they use the thicker wire is to hold up to being ripped through the ground with an industrial trencher.

The only place where the thicker wire makes sense is where you are doing very long distances (think 10,000 feet of 50+ acres), where the lower resistance of the thicker wire starts to come into play

All that said, the upgrade to thicker wire is inexpensive and won’t hurt (it is a bit harder to work with). If the thicker wire makes a customer feel better, we offer it as a courtesy. Our candid advice is that you don’t need it and there are better uses of your money. For what it is worth, none of us use it with our own dog fence systems.

Julia November 29, 2010 at 7:54 pm

I have read just about every comment and answer on your site and like others have found it very helpful. I have a 40 foot boundary which I would like to fence without encroaching on safe area [all other boundary is enclosed already and a single loop won’t work for a number of reasons] and need to be able to use the double looped system. My understanding is that I need a separation of 6 feet between wires which [too severely] cuts 9 feet off yard area, at a 3 foot setting. Essentially i need to know the closest i can possibly run the wires without fear of problems please.

ADMIN – You can get a little closer than six feet if you turn down the boundary width. With the boundary set at 3 feet wide you can probably get as close as 4 feet. But, much closer and it gets very dicey.

Luane November 29, 2010 at 7:08 pm

I want to install an invisible fence but do not know what to do when you have a concrete driveway? I want her to have the run of the whole yard.

ADMIN – Hi Luane,

The easiest way to get across a concrete driveway is to find an expansion joint, clean it out, place the wire in the joint and caulk over it. If you don’t have an expansion joint you will just cut a shallow slot with a circular saw and masonry blade, lay the wire in the slot, then caulk over it.

For a lot more information on getting your dog fence across a driveway, take a look at our driveways page.

Mason/Dexter November 25, 2010 at 1:01 pm

This is a question that goes with Kris W. Nov. 6, 2009. I have a property that I want to only give them access if I am with them and they’re in sight and another section of the property if I can’t see them. How do I set-up the system with a switch to let me go from one configuration to the other? The system that I have is Innotek iuc-5100.

ADMIN – Hi Mason & Dexter,

The simplest way is to just have two completely separate layouts going into the control box. Then attach a switch to both the circuits for the inside layout and the outside layout so that when you flick the switch it breaks or connects the circuit for each layout. The current going through the wire is very weak so you don’t need a very fancy switch.

As with Kris, I would caution against having a switched system with two different layouts. Setting up the system is easy, but training the dogs on two different layouts is more difficult and should only be attempted by dog owners will a little more confidence and experience.

Michael November 22, 2010 at 11:54 am

You guys have been incredibly helpful but I hit a few snags putting in my Innotek 4100 fence.

1) I want an all yard system where dogs can go front back easily especially since they love to chase each other around the house in circles. Dogs love circles. However when they do this they cut corners and end up running through our mulch beds throwing mulch all over the grass and ending up dirtier than they need to be. What I learned is I can use a double wire to connect my perimeter loop to the mulch beds via twisted wire connecting the two so that handles that problem. But how do I exclude mulch beds close to the house when the perimeter wire is 40 feet from the house.

2) Another question again is the mulch beds, if it is a closed loop system if i dead end a wire in a mulch bed cut a foot off the end and spice it right back into the wire will that fool the transmiter into a closed loop system. )

3) How close can one get to utility lines before twenty gauge is canceled out and is there any way to strengthen the signal to overcome it

4) Can I create two loops using one transmitter where the perimeter wires are plugged in as one loop and into the same transmitter can i place the mulch bed wires or will that short my system? I have the technical skill to do this but my vision of how to do things has always been sluggish so I am trying to figure out the wire layout and can’t get the whole thing working at once.

ADMIN – Hi Michael

1) To handle mulched beds 40 feet from the perimeter, you can run the twisted wire from the perimeter to the mulch bed, then run a loop around the bed that starts and ends at the twisted wire.

Alternatively, you could use some of the outdoor pods with your Innotek IUC-4100 system. They can operate independently of the main fence and could be used to block off the mulched beds without having to run the wire from the main perimeter back to each bed.

2) No, the whole system needs to have a continuous circuit of wire, starting and finishing at the control box with no dead ends or three-way intersections. You will run the pair of twisted wire to the mulched-bed. The loop will start from one of the twisted pair of wires, and will terminate at the other. This video and these diagrams on twisted wire may help.

3) The reason we want you to avoid long stretches parallel and close to utilities is that sometimes the dog fence signal leaks into those utility pipes and wire. Then everywhere those utilities run act like they are part of the dog fence. (so a power outlet will trigger the collar) This doesn’t happen often, but if you are going to run boundary wire close and parallel to the utilities it is prudent to go check around the house and the yard with the collar to make sure you aren’t getting the collar triggering in the wrong places. If you are, you want to try and move the boundary wire further away from the utilities and make it less parallel. Turn down the signal strength helps (turning it up tends to make the problem worse).

4) You can have multiple loops. The best way to join them together is to create you primary loop (it does not matter which loop you designate as the primary loop). Then splice the twisted wire into any section of that primary loop to branch off and form the secondary loops.

The way you suggest where each loop independently plugs into the control box does work. But, each loop will have a different boundary wideness. The short loops will have extremely wide boundaries and the longer loops will have extremely narrow boundaries (meaning the dog has to get very close to the wire before the collar triggers) – which is highly undesirable and usually the opposite of what you want.

Also when all the loops are independent you will not know if you get a break in one of the loops because the system will not alert you with the boundary break alarm..

Pamela Geiser November 18, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Will an electric horse fence interfere with this system?

ADMIN – Hi Pamela,

Interference with electric horse or cattle fences is rare, but does happen. The best way to tell, is to string up a small section of the dog fence next to the cattle fence – and then test with the collar to make sure it is still triggering. If there is interference you will want to separate them by 10 feet.

Nick November 17, 2010 at 7:54 pm

On the Backyard Dog Fence Layout where the wire goes across the top of the roof to allow the entrance into the house, could I install twisted wire across the entire length of the house instead and just lay it like the rest of the wire ?

ADMIN – Hi Nick,

You cannot use the twisted wire across the back of the house to make the fourth side of your fence. There is unfortunately no good way to avoid having a complete loop (i.e. all four sides) that is all single wire.

Rick S November 17, 2010 at 10:14 am

Can a wired system be setup to enclose (surround) an area of a backyard that I don’t want my dogs to go into?

Think of it as subdividing a large rectangular rear yard that’s already totally enclosed by a physical fence into two areas. I’d enclose the back 50% of the rectangle with the wireless fence so the dogs are free to do their thing in the front non-wire surrounded rectangle (closest to the house) but are stopped from entering the rear rectangle by the wireless fence where I don’t want them to go.


ADMIN – Hi Rick,

You can use a system to exclude the dogs from an area. How big is the area? If it is a relatively small area, you can the pawz-away rock to do the job – it is much cheaper and easier to install than a full system, but can only cover a small distance (16 feet in diameter if operated wirelessly, or 150 feet of boundary wire if you use it in wired mode)

Nick November 10, 2010 at 10:38 pm

I read all the questions above and I still managed to have one of my own. We live in a duplex so I need to cover half the front and back yard as well as the side which contains the driveway. What is the best way to run along the perimeter of the yard but also through the house so our dog can use both the front and back doors? I’m assuming I would have to go through the basement or up over the roof? Also, depending on the route through, over or under the house what do you think the best way to hook into the close the loop into the receiver box?

ADMIN – Hi Nick.

For a duplex or semi-attached, we usually find it easiest to complete the loop by going up over the roof. You can also go down below through a basement if you have one, just be sure the basement is not an area you want the dog to be able to use.

After making your boundary loop, splice in the twisted pair of wires to connect the loop to the control box. The control box can go anywhere, you will not be using it much once your system is installed. I will usually try and hide it in a garage, closet, basement or attic. Any place that is protected from the weather will work.

Brad November 8, 2010 at 8:06 pm

I would like to install a single sided boundary as illustrated in your diagram but I do not want to have to cross the driveway twice. Could you use a shielded wire for half of the loop and the regular wire for the other half and bury them in the same trench? Is there any other way that you could make a single sided boundary and only have to make one trench?
Thanks, Brad

ADMIN – Hi Brad,

Afraid there is no getting round having that return wire to close the loop and the wires do need to be separated by about six feet – so I am afraid you will need to make a second crossing. We have never had any luck with using shielding, it doesn’t tend to work consistently and you are likley to get cancellation if you try and cross back in the same place. The only way to cross back in the same place without getting cancellation is to cross high overhead.

Jen November 6, 2010 at 9:19 pm

We tried to install an invisible fence and encircle our house, but ran into some problems with the signal coming into the house. We thought it might be coming from the underground power lines being to close to the boundary wire. So to test if the power lines were the problem, we laid the boundary wire in the back yard only and away from the house and any wires. We encircled about 1/4 acre in the backyard.

We tested the system and found that if we turned the field up to the highest setting, the dog collar was picking up the signal in the entire backyard. There wasn’t one place in the entire backyard that was not “hot.” Our system (PetSafe) was only supposed to be able to broadcast a 10′ to 12′ signal (which is a maximum of 5′ to 6′ on either side of the wire). We were at least 30′ from any boundary wire, but still were picking up the signal.

What causes this? We are also concerned about dog safety with a system that would allow a signal to travel 30+ feet from a boundary wire with just the simple turning of a knob.

PS: Forgot to say thanks for all of the good information on your site!

ADMIN – Hi Jen,

That sounds normal. When you have a small yard, you need to turn the field setting (boundary width dial) down otherwise it will blanket the entire yard and then some. Also make sure you have the boundary size setting switch turned down to the lowest setting (That is the “B” setting on most PetSafe systems, I suspect you have it on the highest setting). The reason that you can generate such wide boundaries on your small installation is that the system need to be powerful enough to do 25 acres, and for those installations the field setting will be turned all the way up, for a 1/4 acre installation you will need to turn it all the way down. You want to adjust the boundary width so that it is about 3-5 feet on either side of the boundary wire.

sue November 5, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Is there a kind of pipe that I could run the wire through that would block the signal in certain places? I have a bunch of old lead pipes in the garage.

ADMIN – Hi Sue,

We haven’t found there to be any way to block the signal through a pipe. I’ve contacted the various manufactures of these systems as well and they’ve confirmed that it isn’t possible.

Joyce October 30, 2010 at 5:30 pm

In the 25 acre fence system does it require additional wire or does the package contain sufficient wire to cover the entire area?

ADMIN – Hi Joyce,

Most systems come with 500 feet of wire, 50 flags, and 2 splices, which is good for about one-third of an acre. Extra boundary wire kits which include an addtional 500 feet of wire, 50 flags, and 2 splices cost $30 each. For 25 acres, you will need about 5,000 feet of wire total.

Dana October 26, 2010 at 4:10 pm

I do agree very informative site you have. I just need a quick clarification…..if I am only protecting the backyard and need to double loop using the ground and the fence, is 5 feet tall fence tall enough if the wire is laid at the fences’ feet?

ADMIN – Hi Dana,

5 feet is pretty tight – you could make it work, but you would have to have a pretty narrow boundary width setting of around 3 feet. That is not too bad if the backyard is fenced, since the fence acts as a deterent and slows down the dog if they are trying to escape, making it harder to run through the correction zone.

Gale October 16, 2010 at 2:02 pm

I am looking into buying the Innotek 4100 system for my pitbull that insists on digging her way out of the yard. I have a totally enclosed fenced back yard that has a metal shed in the middle of it. My questions are 1) Can the wire be ran through the fence so I wouldn’t have to do any digging? 2) Would it work if the shed was between the transmitter and the back of the fence 3) I have to exits to the back through a side door and the deck door-could I run the wire over both sides of the door so she could go out without a shock and also under the deck? Being a single woman that has to do this myself I need the easiest installation options. I have an inside dog pen that is fenced across the bottom and the top but she has just broke through the wire. I really don’t want to have to take her back to the pound but I work and can’t just leave her in the house all the time. Thanks.

ADMIN – Hi Gale,

(1) Yes, the wire does not have to be buried. Attaching it to a fence works just as well.

(2) With a wired system a metal fence in the middle of your property is not a big deal (it would block the signal if you were using a wireless fence). Sometimes if a metal shed is within six feet of the boundary line, the dog fence signal can jump from the line into the shed metal and then the dog can’t go near the shed – it is rare, still if you had that kind of layout you would want to test the area around the metal shed to make sure that was not happening. But again, that should not be an issue if the shed is in the middle of the property.

(3) Going over those door is the right way to do it. I prefer going even higher and going up a rainspout, across the gutters and down the downspout on the other side. It lets you get a little higher up and is hidden so doesn’t spoil the look of the house. It is easy if you have (or borrow) a nice long ladder.

Also if, the Pitbull is particularly hard headed, consider the PetSafe Stubborn instead of the Innotek.

gary linthicum October 16, 2010 at 10:42 am

I have a completely fenced backyard, but just want to exclude my dogs from the pool area. Can I just make my complete loop around the pool area to exclude the dogs from the area contained in the loop or does the system only work with the dogs inside the loop? Also, my main concern is a pool diving Dachshund puppy. Is there a collar small enough for small puppies?


ADMIN – Hi Gary,

1) Yes, you can keep your dogs out of the pool with a boundary loop, the boundary wire can be laid so as to exclude the dogs from an area instead of keeping them enclosed.

2) Yes, the PetSafe Little Dog Fence is small enough for dogs over 4lbs. One thing to keep in mind is that you probably want to wait till six months to contain said aquatic Dachshund. Before 6 months, dogs usually don’t have enough maturity in terms of attention span to do the training. After six months training is much easier and quicker.

Christina Waltman October 15, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Thanks so much for your site, it’s very helpful. We purchased an invisible fence and are planning our installation. We live in a semi detached house, looking out the front we are attached on the right side. We have a front, side, and back yard that we would like to be open for our dog to roam about. We have a daylight basement with a sliding glass door and a deck above it with a sliding glass door. We were planning to run the wire straight out the front right side(next to our attached neighbors house) towards the road and all around the front, side and back yards and bring it straight to the back side of the house,then run the wire up the back of the house and straight across the roof and down the front to meet up with the other end of the wire and run it into the house to mount the box. We are now concerned that our dog will not be able to get near the front and back of the house where the wire is running. Our front windows are about 3 feet from the edge of the house where the wire would run. Obviously we wouldn’t want to keep our dog from the window! Will this plan work or is there some other idea that would work better? We want all 3 doors on the house to be accessible and we don’t have enough area to make a double loop around the whole yard since it would need to be 6 feet apart.

ADMIN – Hi Christina,

You have the right idea for your layout, that is the best way to do a semi-detached. You will have to experiment with adjusting the boundary width once you have the wire in place so that the signal does not leak into the house. Use the collars to detect if the signal is getting into the house, and if it is reduce the boundary width (by turning the boundary width dial anti-clockwise) until the collars will not go off in the house. Remember there is a small amount of wobble in the boundary so build in a small safety buffer of 20% of the total boundary width. With 3 feet of separation between the wire and the front of the house you should be able to get a workable boundary width that does not leak into the house.

Heather October 14, 2010 at 1:19 pm

We’re considering an electric fence for our dog. I have two questions.

Typically, how close can the dog comfortably get to the fencing? We have a dog house outside for shelter that is currently in the corner of the yard and I wouldn’t want to inadvertently keep out dog from using it. How much space should I consider unavailable for dog use near the fence?

Second, how do you deal with the driveway and wire? We’re renting and while I’m reasonably certain our landlord will let us bury a wire, I’m certain he will not permit us to dig up his driveway.

ADMIN – You can set the distance the dog can get to the fence by turning a dial on the control box. You can have the boundary anywhere from a couple of inches up to 10+ feet on either side of the fence. We recommend you set the boundary up at between 3 and 5 feet on either side of the wire. You will also want to leave an extra 3 feet of safety buffer, the dogs will be cautious after training and most will stay about 3 feet back from where the warning beep actually starts.

For driveways, the easiest way to go is to find an expansion joint and place the wire in the joint, then caulk over to seal the wire in place. If there isn’t an expansion joint, a shallow cut with a circular saw will do the trick. You can also just lay the wire over the driveway. Exposed wire will wear down and need replacing every couple of years, but that is no big deal.

Sterling October 4, 2010 at 1:20 am

Our house has 2 large side yards. I want to enclose the sides and back of the house as the dog area, so I want to do a outline of a C as a loop around the house. However, the inside line of the C will go under the deck in the back where we enter and exit. Can I do a 3 wire twisted pair there (i.e. a twisted pair, then a third wire twisted over it) to cancel out that part so the dog can go out the back deck?

That is, in the back of the house, there is an active wire along the back of the property (this connects to the side yard wire) and then to connect them, a triple wire under the deck just beside the foundation, which should not give a signal due to twisted wire.

Can I do that? Will the triple wire cancel out?

ADMIN – Hi Sterling,

Unfortunately, twisted wire only works as a pair. The third wire will be active. The best option is to run the wire either up and over through the gutters, or far enough below the deck so that your dog can walk out of range of the signal either under it or over it. If you haven’t seen our planning page, you can see the most common installation layouts.

Karen September 27, 2010 at 11:52 am

We have a creek that borders our property and would like to put the wire next to the creek. We may not be able financially to bury the wire right now. The creek does flood now and again. Lets say we just lay it on the ground with lawn staples for now(until spring). What are the risk to the fence(washing/floating) itself?


ADMIN – Hi Karen,

If you use lawn staples like the ones we sell, I’d say the risk is very minimal. The lawn staples we sell are about 7 inches long, so I’d imagine if very difficult for the wire to float. However, I would recommend that you space the staples out no wider than 5 feet apart.

Veronica September 2, 2010 at 12:59 pm

What a wonderful explanation site you have ! Very thankful I found it ! Am curious as we already have a thin gauge metal fence to contain our dogs but on their determined days they can dig under it and get out. Can I run the wire “attached” to this existing metal fence for it’s full length ? (maybe by interweaving the wire through the existing rectangular spaces in the fence) Or would that interfere with the signal ? Concerned because one dog is large and there’s a couple children in the area…though he’s “playing” they are very would like him safely to stay in the yard always. Thank you for any insight you might have !

ADMIN – Hi Veronica,

Running the wire on your fence will work perfectly. Large, flat surface area metal is what usually causes interference problems. I think you’ll be fine in your case and will solve your escaping dogs problem.

Tom P August 26, 2010 at 10:54 pm

I’m in the process of laying out our system (just bought the Innotek 4100 from you) and have a situation along one side of our property. There’s about 10 feet between the edge of our driveway and the property line. About 6 -8 feet inside the property line is a utility line that powers a street light in the front of our property. Based on the mark left by the utility, this line seems to run from the pad-mounted transformer in the back of the yard, all the way around the edge of the property and then down alongside the driveway. If I leave a 3-4 foot buffer between the property line and the dog fence wire, I’ll only be 1-2 feet away from the this line. If I go by the book and go 10 feet in from the utility line, I’ll be running the dog fence line basically down the middle of the driveway for 75 feet or so. What are the chances that there would be enough interference from a street light power line? (i.e I don’t no what current it’s carrying but it’s just powering a single bulb – my guess is a few amps max?). Thanks, Tom

ADMIN – Hi Tom,

Most of the time you will be fine. I would just lay the wire on the surface and test the system to make sure you aren’t getting the signal in any weird places like along the utility line or in your house near power outlets. The concern is that the signal from the dog fence wire will jump into that utility wire and everywhere where that utility wire runs will emit the dog fence boundary signal. It doesn’t happen often, but better to be safe than sorry!

In the off chance that you do get some sort of signal leakage into the utility wire, you want to move the boundary wire further away, run it at more of an angle so that it is not parallel, or turn down your boundary width (or some combination thereof) until you no longer get that effect.

Lori Kelly August 26, 2010 at 8:58 pm

I am going to buy the innoteck 400 from you if it will work with my set up. Currently my yard has a back and partial side fence. I would like to finish the containment with an electric fence. That would mean one side that is about 40 feet long and then take a left and about 20 feet to the edge of the house. Then down the other side there is about an 8 foot opening on the other side of the house from the edge of the house to the other side of the fence. My question is does it have to be a continuous loop for it to work. These would not be continuous. it would be basically 60 feet with a 90 degree attachment to the house. Then there would be about 8 feet. Can you let me know if this would work?

ADMIN – Hi Lori,

You do have to have a continuous loop for it to work.

What you could do to complete the loop is to run the wire along the top of the fence in the parts of the boundary where you don’t want the dog to get the correction. When you run the wire on top of the fence, the height of the wire stops the collar triggering at ground level. To cross the house, you can run the wire up a downspout and along the gutter line – then down the downspout on the other side of the house.

If you email us a diagram of the property, we would be happy to help you design a layout.

Tammy August 19, 2010 at 2:36 pm

You have an awesome sight and I appreciate you sharing your knowledge so freely. Would it be okay to leave the wire unburied and just use garden staples to anchor it to the ground? Thanks, Tammy

ADMIN – Hi Tammy,

Yes, that is a very common, safe, and acceptable installation method for any in ground fence you have. You probably don’t want to do above ground if it is an area that is mowed with a lawn mower as this will tend to tear up the wire. But, in unmown sections it works great. Also, thanks for the feedback!

Robert Boomershine August 8, 2010 at 10:25 pm

Hello. My wife and I are going to contain our dogs on 4.4 acres, with the entire area being open for them to run. What gauge wire would work best in this application?
Thanks in advance.

ADMIN – Hi Robert,

The manufacture recommends using 20 gauge. Using larger wire will not add to the functionality of the system. You can use heavier gauge wire and have seen people install as large as 12 and 14 gauge, but it doesn’t make the system work any better.

Krista August 7, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Thanks for your quick responses! I am so glad I found this site!

If I find a siding clip small enough for 20 gauge wire, I will definately pass the info along. My searching so far has not been promising though, which leads me to my next question… Did I read correctly that the wire can be laid INSIDE the rain gutter? And can it be put INSIDE the downspout? I’m picturing the wire going up one downspout, across the house inside the gutter, and then down the other downspout. Is that safe for the wire? For what it’s worth I live near Chicago so we have snowy, icy winters. Thanks again!

ADMIN – Hi Krista,

The wire can indeed be run inside the gutter and inside the downspout gutter. It is waterproof. You can also run it under the eaves or behind the downspout – the only reason we suggest inside the gutter is that it is easy and not visible.

Krista August 5, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Thank you so much for your AWESOME sight! I just purchased a system from your site and intend to fence our backyard. To complete the loop I will be running the wire up on the house. I have siding; any ideas as to how to secure the wire to siding (easy ideas!!!!)?

I intend to mount the receiver box inside my laundry room on the back of my house. Can I just bring the wires in through the window? In other words, could it be as simple as running the wires through the open window and then closing the window over the wires? Would that crush or damage them? This is a window that we NEVER open / close so the wire would not be “messed with”. Thanks!!!!

Thanks a million!

ADMIN – Hi Krista,

Thanks for the feedback! And thank you for your order! As for the siding, I’m not exactly sure. I’d imagine there’s some kind of fastener Home Depot or Lowes sells that will help you with that. If you do locate an easy method or fastener made for siding, please let us know.

Many customers run the boundary wire out a window. I’d cut a short test piece of wire and try it out and see if it’ll be okay. You want to take care that the insulation on the wire does not get damaged.

Bob August 2, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Will a lawn irrigation system interfere with the underground fence system?

ADMIN – Hi Bob,

It should not be an issue at all.

Tim Crosby July 17, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Thanks for the wonderful info. I am planning out my system and would love your assistance before purchasing (from you!)

I basically have a square lot with the house in the center. We need the fence on three sides but not the fourth, which is a wood fence the dogs like to lean against to get out of the sun. I do not have enough room on one side to just make a double loop back (don’t have 9 feet before the yard area) so am trying to figure out how to loop wire down the ‘shade’ fence.

I am thinking of making one large loop, then making another loop that is twisted out to that shade fence, then twists up and down that side to fully deactivate it. The question: can I run a twist involving three runs of wire instead of two: the main loop line, plus the second line that is fully twisted either on itself then the main line, or just fully braided with the main line?

Thank you.

ADMIN – Hi Tim,

Unfortunately twisting three wires will reactivate the line. There is really no way to avoid having a full loop of active single wire. If that shade fence is high enough (6+ feet) – one thing you could do is run the wire along the very top of that fence. The vertical height over the dogs would let them go right up to the base of the fence without getting the correction.

Mike Murray July 16, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Have a question concerning installation. We are buying a house with 2.6 acres that is 95% fenced. The only open area that we want to wireless fence is the driveway entrance. Can we make a loop around the driveway/gate area only? Or do the dogs have to be contained inside the loop?

ADMIN – Hi Mike,

You have two options:

(1) Use one of the Pawz Away Outdoor Zone Pods – and create a small loop just across the driveway entrance. This option will be a lot easier and cheaper. But, the outdoor zone systems are not quite as high quality. I would try this option first.

(2) Use a Full System – you would run twisted wire from the transmitter (in the house or garage) out to the driveway, then do a small loop at the driveway or gate area.

The small loop would just cross the driveway at the point you want to block them, then cross back somewhere six plus feet away. This small loop will create a barrier. The dogs do not need to be contained in the loop, you can use the loop as a barrier too.

Sheryl Hawks July 16, 2010 at 7:48 am


We recently purchased a Petsafe fence for our German Shepard. Our neighbor already has an electrical fence installed along the property line. How close to the neighbors fence can I place our fence? Also, if I want to try the back yard installation over the back of the house, how high up does the wire need to be so the dog can enter the house safely? Thank you


ADMIN – Hi Sheryl,

You want to keep your fence wire twelve feet from the neighbor’s fence wire. Otherwise you will get the two fences interfering along the common boundary and neither will work on that common boundary. Another option is to use the Perimeter Technologies or newly updated SportDog SDF-100 – these systems let you adjust the transmission frequency so that you can avoid interfering with your neighbor’s system.

The vertical clearance you need over the dog depends on how wide you have the boundary set up. I like to add three feet of safety space to the boundary width. So if you want the boundary to be four feet wide, I would want seven feet of clearance over the dog’s head to be comfortable with the installation.

Joan Merriam June 22, 2010 at 3:38 pm

I just installed the Innotek IUC4100 around appx. 2 acres of my property, but have a physical fence that lies along one section of the property line (maybe 300 feet long). There’s a pathway that runs directly alongside the fence that I want my dog to be able to follow, but I need to have the boundary wire far enough away so he doesn’t get zapped or warned. Since I have a nasty neighbor on that side, asking him if I can run the wire on his property isn’t an option…so here’s my question: presuming I have the boundary width set to between 5 & 6 feet, can I run the boundary wire along the top of the 6-foot high fence without fear of giving my dog a correction? Is this my best and/or only option (other than digging a 7-foot-deep trench…NOT!!)?

ADMIN – Hi Joan,

Elevating the wire to the top of the fence is a great way to reduce the distance that signal travels. If the fence is six foot high, I might turn down the boundary width to 3-4 feet just to be conservative and give hte dog a bit of a safety buffer when walking on the pathway.

Charlie June 17, 2010 at 2:55 pm

I would like to run a complete loop right around our property, with the wire crossing our driveway through the expansion joint closer to the road. I would like the coverage on the driveway to prevent them from having free access.
My question is do I have to remove the collar everytime we take them in the car (once a day sometimes more) to prevent them from getting zapped as we back down the driveway, or will the car itself protect them from the shock. Thank You

ADMIN – Hi Charlie,

Sometimes the height of the car above the ground lets you drive them over without triggering the collar. But this is hit and miss. I like to play it safe and always take the collar off the dog before taking them for a ride in the car.

Laura June 16, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Hi, my question is coming from a totally different application. I live on a farm and would like to fence completely around my house to keep the dog away from the house. He is a destructive dog that likes to tear up EVERYTHING!! But he is great with the kids and we have given him freerange over our 120 acre farm. What (if any) feedback do you have from customers who wish to use the underground dog fence in this manner?? If it helps it is a large 2 year old lab and maybe not the smartest dog in the pack.

ADMIN – Hi Laura,

You can use a system the opposite way to most people to keep the dog away from the house. This is usually very easy, and requires even less training, because the dog cannot run through the boundary and gets the correction continuously untill the retreat back away from the house.

You just install the wire, around the perimeter of the house, put up the flags, and then train the dog in much the same way you would if you were doing containment.

paul June 9, 2010 at 9:25 pm

I need to keep my dog from going into one neighbors yard, but is ok for him to go into the yard on the opposite side of mine. Conventionally this would be a long thin loop (6 ft min spacing) only on one side of my yard. But this is very long, about 400ft. How much current is in the wire? Would it be possible to use the earth for the return and use only a single wire one way to a ground stake at the far end? The return contact on the transmitter would of course also have to be grounded through a similar stake. This would allow burying the wire only in 400ft instead of 2x 400ft. (this is how telephone wire worked in years gone by….only one wire run and the earth as the return path)

ADMIN – Hi Paul,

That’s not a solution we believe can work. The system only works in a continuous loop. 800 feet of wire isn’t a problem. Most of the systems like the Innotek 4100 have a capacity of 5,000 feet of wire. The difference in cost between running 400 and 800 feet of wire is around 20 dollars.

Samantha May 27, 2010 at 5:17 pm

My husband and I just moved into a new house last October. We have two dogs: a Basset Hound and a Black Mouth Cur. They are both outside-only dogs. The Basset is a real escape artist. We used to live on 30 acres and she would frequently escape her pen. We ran an electric fence around the whole thing, but we would have to turn it off to go in and out of the pen so it wouldn’t shock us when we opened the gate. Now we live in a neighborhood and I don’t think it would be safe to have the electric fence on the backyard fence in case someone unknowingly got shocked. The Basset has just discovered (after 6 months) that she can push under the yard fence and has gotten out twice in the last week. My dilemma is that in your training guide you talk about only using your system for 15 minutes 3 times a day before you let them go off the leash. Since they are outdoor-only dogs, they would need to wear it all of the time until they learned the boundary. How would you suggest we do this? And, since we take our dogs on walks almost daily, how do you suggest we train them if the only way in and out of the yard is through the gate with the boundary? I need something that will be effective immediately for the safety of my dog since she is not used to living near a street with traffic.

ADMIN – Hi Samantha,

If you’re dogs stay in the yard 24 hours, when you go to work contain the dogs however you were containing them before. If you need to crate or chain them, do it … it is a lot better than the dog continually escaping and being put at danger, it is just a short term measure.

As for the collar, you can try leaving the collar on 24/7 – lots of people do and it creates no problem, but be careful and check the neck every day for the first two weeks, then every week – a small number of dogs will get a skin reaction.

If you want to exercise your dog during training take the collar off and carry the dog over the boundary, or put them in the car and drive them over. You have to do something that makes it clear it is a very different context. Once they are trained we can train them to go through normally on command.

Destiny McDermott May 24, 2010 at 9:51 am

Hi, having trouble with my layout. We dont have many options to place the box so it has to be on the inside wall of the kitchen in back of the house. The problem is that in order to complete the loop we have to come around the house then up the center of the yard with twisted wire to connect to the box. The twisted wire will be about 30 feet long. Is that ok? No place in the garage for an outlet and the front porch sometimes get rain under there. It is just like the diagram shown where the twisted wire comes up the side of the house to complete to loop but mine will be up the center of the yard. Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Destiny,

There’s no distance limitations with twisted wire, so 30 feet is absolutely okay.

Steve H. May 23, 2010 at 1:49 pm

I bought the Smart Dog system, but after seeing your video review (and having a similar initial reaction when first going through the box contents), I don’t want to waste my time installing it. So, here’s my question:

When we bought our house about 10 years ago it already had a hidden fence system, but we didn’t get a dog until about two years ago. By now, I have probably severed the line in a few places during various landscaping projects. Is it worth the effort to try to locate and repair the disconnects or just start from scratch? Also, assuming I can get the line fixed, will it work with any new system I buy?

ADMIN – Hi Steve,

I recommend installing new boundary wire. It’s not worth the headache in time and energy to repair an old boundary wire. If you rent an EZ Trench TP 400 or TP 300, you can run your new wire in half a days time. This trencher will dig a 3″ trench, lay the wire, back fill it, and make you a sandwich. While, I can’t guarantee the sandwich, I’m certain it will do the first three very well.

Jessi May 20, 2010 at 9:58 pm

We are considering purchasing one of the Innotek systems from you. However, before we do that we were wondering about the 500 ft. of wire that comes along. We have a 2.5 acre lot, so obviously 500 feet of wire is not going to enclose our lot. One of our friends told us that the more splicing you do, the weaker your system is and the more prone to breakages. If that is the case, we were wondering if you sold rolls of wire larger than 500 ft?

ADMIN – Hi Jessi,

We only sell the wire in 500 foot increments. Your local electrical supply store may be able to get you something bigger.

Splicing the wire is no big deal and make no difference to the system, it will not weaken the system or leave you more prone to breaks. Just, make sure when you splice to knot the wire first to make sure no tension goes on the joint and you should be all good. (this quick video may help)

debra hedrick May 13, 2010 at 12:53 am

Would this modification to the backyard option work? Instead of running the wire around the front of the house , across the roof, or creating a double loop, could one use twisted wire across the back of the house to close the loop?

ADMIN – Hi Debra,

Unfortunately you cannot run the twisted wire as part of the loop – if you do it will act like single wire and be active. The twisted wire only works when used to connect (a) one loop to another loop; or (b) one loop to the control box.

Adam May 4, 2010 at 10:03 pm

I need to run part of my loop under my gravel driveway. I heard that I can use metal conduit burried 2″ deep. But I also heard that will cancel out the signal the same way that twisting the wire will. What are my other options for burying under gravel driveway ? PVC ?

ADMIN – Hi Adam,

We usually don’t have any problems with metal conduit. It certainly does not reliably cancel out signals, often it will amplify them. If you want something neutral that will have not effect on signals, we usually use flexible irrigation pipe (for underground sprinkler systems), or an old garden hose pipe – both are very cheap and available at any hardware store, the flexibility and smaller diameter make them easier to work with than PVC. PVC works too, but we find it a bit harder to work with, especially for long runs – you cannot for example use it with a trencher.

Jocelyn May 4, 2010 at 12:51 pm

We have 2 Ridgebacks and we’ve been in our home for 6+ years and have a fully fenced chain linked fence. I don’t know the exact dimensions but I think our back yard is ~6500 square feet.

What I want to do is use the dog fence to train them to “go” in one section of the yard. They currently have the run of the yard and I’d like to begin keeping part of it clean so that WE can use it too :-). We also want to let them continue to play in the entire back yard, but just train them to “go” only in the designated section. Would this bee too confusion? We’ve considered creating a “dog run” with the installation of additional traditional chain link fencing, but that would be prohibitively expensive. Would installing a dog fence be a suitable solution?

ADMIN – Hi Jocelyn,

A dog fence would not be a great solution. Once a dog is trained on an electric dog fence, it will be very not want to play on the other side of the fence, even if you give the dog permission. I think you would likely end up permanently limiting the dogs to using only half the yard.

Dave April 28, 2010 at 11:19 am

I have a 5 ft. aluminum fence on both sides of my lot and a chain link fence in back on my neighbors lot. Can i attach it to them?

ADMIN – Hi Dave,

Attaching the wire to the chain link fence is fine. But, a sheet metal aluminum fence is trickier. Sometimes that fence will magnify the signal and you will get a very big boundary in that area. The only way to know for sure is to test out a small section.

Jim April 28, 2010 at 9:01 am

I have a problem. I would like to prevent the dogs from digging out of our fenced backyard, however i would also like the dog to be able to retrieve his ball if it ends up being tossed next to the fence. Additionally i would like the dog to be able to go out in the front yard, what is the easiest way to make this happen. May house layout is almost identical to the drawing shown with the hour glass layout.

ADMIN – Hi Jim,

Afraid for the fence to work, you will have to stop the dogs being able to go near the edge of the property. So if a tossed ball ends up going too near the fence, you will have to retrieve it yourself, as the dogs once trained will not want to go near the fence.

If you want the dogs to be able to freely roam between the front and back, a big loop around the entire perimeter works best. If you want them to be able to use the front and back but not cross back and forth, then the hourglass layout is a better choice.

Abbey April 25, 2010 at 11:51 pm

We live on a farm and would like to contain our dog to 15 acres of land; he’s a cattle dog and we want to include the pasture as accesible; basically putting up a very large perimeter fence. The fence around the perimeter of the pasture is a smooth wire high tensile fence that is electrified; many of the posts are metal t-posts with a wooden post every 20 yards. Can the wire be attached along the length of the fence or will the electrified fence cause problems with the signal? Can the wire be attached to the metal fence posts?

ADMIN – Hi Abbey,

Electric fences are hit and miss. Sometimes you get interference, or the dog fence signal jumping into the electric fence wire, so everywhere that wire goes, you also get the dog fence signal. Other times it works perfectly and you save a lot of time! The only good way we have found to figure out if it can be mounted on the same posts is to test mount a small section and see what happens.

Mary April 24, 2010 at 4:25 pm

My neighborhood just passed a rules that cats have to be under the control of the owner. Can I use an invsible fence to let my 2 cats out into my yard? The smaller cat weigs 9.4 pounds. The other weighs 13 pounds.

ADMIN – Hi Mary,

There is a system made for cats. The correction on the PetSafe Cat Fence is toned down and has a smaller collar, because you don’t need as much to redirect a cat’s attention.

Jason April 19, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Just purchased the Stubborn dog setup from Petsafe for out 1 acre land. I have a very persistent German Shepard, Spitz mix who is getting up there in age (14). She has had a fence for many years and loves the Big Dogs (Cows). i am wanting to do just the back yard is it possible to just run twisted wire along the back side of the house in order to complete the loop? Also I really don’t want to purchase another 500′ roll for just a 50′ section of twisted wire. Is it possible to use a different type of wire to cancel out the signal. Thanks, Jason

ADMIN – Hi Jason,

There is no getting around having a complete loop of single wire. You can never used the twisted wire to complete the loop.

There are other solutions to the problem of doing a backyard only section. Take a look at the backyard only layouts above, and see if you can do one of the other options. (e.g. running the wire tight around the front of the house, or running the wire high overhead along the back of the house)

You can use almost any insulate copper wire as part of the loop. Try to find some wire at the hardware store that is rated for direct burial and similar in gauge to the wire you already have.

Ralph April 19, 2010 at 9:19 am

Can the loop wire be run overhead on TV cable wire without affecting the TV reception?

ADMIN – Hi Ralph,

It should not cause any problems with your cable signal, but sometimes you can get the dog fence signal crossing into the cable wire which can cause anywhere the cable runs to become active. I would rig up a small trial section before doing the full installation to make sure this does not happen.

Nancy C April 14, 2010 at 10:59 pm

I just ordered the Innotek 4100 and plan on installing a complete loop around our 1 acre property identical to your “perimeter dog fence layout”. The difference between your diagram and our property is that our driveway goes from the attached garage to almost the property line (down the complete driveway). When the utility companies came to mark the utility lines, there are 2 or 3 spots where there are only a foot or so from the utility line to the property line – putting the inground fence closer than the recommended distance. If I lay the wire and everything “works” – could I have a problem after I bury the wire? Also, is it a problem if the twisted wire ran along a utility line or didn’t cross at a 90 degree angle?

ADMIN – Hi Nancy,

If you do go closer than is ideal to the property line and don’t get any adverse effects when laying it on the surface, you should be fine. (What you are on the look out for is the signal getting into those lines and being transmitted everywhere those lines go) Burying a few inches down is unlikely to make a difference, so generally if it is fine on the surface it will be fine when buried. (but of course as always test before putting the collar on the dog!)

Twisted wire can run along utility lines because it is effectively not broadcasting any signal so there is little risk of the signal getting induced in the utility line.

Molly April 13, 2010 at 9:59 am

Are there any breed that these fences are not good for? I have a Staffordshire terrier and I have heard that they can run right through the fence line and the shock not bother them. Is there any truth to that?

ADMIN – Hi Molly,

The breeds that we find challenging are breeds that have been bred to have a very high degree of pain tolerance. Some Pitbulls, some German Shepherd, and wolf-hybrids are a good example. The reason these are so difficult is that the dog just doesn’t feel enough attention correction to redirect their attention back to the boundary rules. With these breeds, if you have a very high pain tolerance example you will find the training more difficult. You can get some clues by observing how the dog reacts when accidents happen such as someone accidentally stepping on a tail or the dog accidentally running into a wall.

With all breeds of dogs, training is by far the most important aspect of the fence installation. If the dog is sensitive to the correction and you do the training consistently 2-3 times a day for two weeks your will almost always get containment. While, terriers like to bolt they are both trainable and sensitive to the correction. If you put in the work to do the two weeks of training, I think both you and the dog will be very happy with the results.

Chris Y. April 1, 2010 at 4:55 pm

I have 8 acres in the country. Property is half moon shape w/ county road being my primary concern. Labrador pup, plan on bury purchased 14 ga. wire.
Option #1 is loop within 1100′ road ditch only, w/ respect to the min. 6′ spacing. Just keep dog awat from road.
Option #2 is bury wire w/ visual referance points so the dog figures out the alfala field is differant than mowed yard. If I do #2, is the dog smart enough to know that when the collar is off, he can go wherever he pleases? When I’m home and outside, I want him to be able to go anywhere that I go. ie woods, pond, creek, etc.

ADMIN – Hi Chris,

Many dogs will not make the connection between the collar and the correction. I find the best way to do it is to first train the dog that they cannot go through the boundary – no exceptions. After a month and they are fully trained and confident on the system,

I then train them that it is ok to go through when they are accompanied by you. (

Hope that helps

Dan R. March 29, 2010 at 10:36 pm


I have a high-energy Brittany puppy that would roam away from home, but we keep her in the yard with a combination of a Petsafe Instant Fence and physical fence in the back yard. Actually, the physical fence is only about 3 feet high, and that hardly slows her down. But she has learned the hard way that if she jumps over the wooden fence on three sides, she’s going to get an unpleasant correction. However, the combination of wooden and Instant fences allow pup to get to the front yard where she like to go stand/sit/lie in the flower beds. Worse yet, she likes to also likes to jump up on the windows of the house and cover them with mud. So, I’m looking at two potential solutions: 1.) Install an underground fence to keep pup out of the front yard, or 2.) use the Pawz Away rocks (outdoor barriers) in the flower beds around the windows. However, option No. 2 would require pup to wear two collars at the same time. (I could probably mount both receivers on the same collar.) Would that be practical? Or should I just go ahead and install the undergound fence. Thanks, Dan

ADMIN – Hi Dan,

How is the PetSafe wireless working with containing the pup? If it is working well, I am not sure I would want to go to the expense of replacing it, and I might just supplement it with a second collar for the Pawz-Away. It is not the most elegant solution, but the Pawz-Away collars are pretty small. I don’t think you will be able to mount them on the stock collar, but with some creativity you could rig something up.

If the wireless is not working well, you could definitely replace it with wired. Since the dog is already trained, it should be pretty easy to retrain them. The presence of the physical fence will make installation much easier, because you can just string the wire along the existing fence without burial. The Innotek 4100 is compatible with the Pawz-Away outdoor pods so it will only need one colalr and be the more elegant solution.

Sam P. March 28, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Hi… I am very pleased with your website and the answers you have given thus far. However i do have a question, (suprise suprise) we have 13 acres and two dogs. We would like to give them full acess to the entire property, but we have a section running through the middle of our property where there is about a foot of water that just stays there year round, some what of a swamp you could say. Would we be able to burry the wire under the water in the mud and it still work effectively? Or does the wire ruin or malfunction in the water?

ADMIN – Hi Sam,

You can run the wire through the mud, water, and swampy sections. If possible, I try and avoid doing any splices in those sections, but you can splice if you need to, just be sure to use the supplied waterproof splices.

The wire can deteriorate faster in swampy conditions, if the cover insulation layer gets damaged. But, otherwise you get comparable longevity to an underground installation. Some people will be extra cautious and place the wire in old garden hose pipe or some other conduit to give it further protection. It is worth doing if that area is hard to access and you want to be sure you never get a break there. But, otherwise I would not bother.

Michael March 25, 2010 at 12:04 pm

What about crossing blacktop? If I go underneath (I know a guy who works for the gas company and he can trench underneath the blacktop), will the dog receive a shock or will my dog have a free run down the driveway.

ADMIN – Hi Michael,

To get a cross blacktop, usually you would cut a slot with a circular saw, lay the wire and then seal over with an outdoor sealant or caulk. If you have a buddy that can trench under the driveway that is great, as long as he doesn’t go too deep (say more than a foot), the signal will still work through the ground and the driveway will still be active.

Paul W March 21, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Great website!

What performance can I expect during winter? If a 6 foot snow bank is piled on top of the wire, will it work? What strategies do you recommend for upper midwest?

ADMIN – Hi Paul,

During the winter as the snow accumulates you need to turn up the boundary width to compensate for the additional snow covering. It can get through 3 feet of snow comfortably, but going through 6 feet of compacted snow would be very hit and miss. (It would be fine if the signal could get out the side of the snow bank and was only needing to get through about 3 feet of snow)

If you are going to need to turn up the boundary width, keep this in mind during the installation, because the boundary width will increase everywhere. So you will need to plan a layout where this does not cause problems. Some customers will lay a temporary wire in winter. They will just lay the wire on the surface about halfway through the season, and remove it during the thaw.

Mark P March 16, 2010 at 5:10 pm

I live on a wooded mountainside and want to install this through the woods around my home (8 acres) to prevent our golden retreiver from following his sniffer too far. Can you recommend an easier visual training aid for large perimeter installations other than placing flags every few feet?

ADMIN – Hi Mark,

Sometimes we will spray a scent along the boundary to help dogs that have poor eye sight. But, flags have proven the easiest and most effective visual aid that we could find. It is possible to train the dogs without the flags but it is harder on the dogs, becaues they are basically finding the boundary by trial and error. If you can at all lay down the flags, I think you will be glad you did.

Kimberly March 11, 2010 at 9:42 am

Our backyard is fully fenced but I do want to keep the dog out of a garden area within the backyard. Can I make a loop around the garden which would therefore keep the dog on the outside of the circled garden?

ADMIN – Hi Kimberly,

To keep the dogs out of the garden area, a loop around the garden would work. But instead of a full fledged dog fence system, perhaps consider one of the Pawz Away outdoor pods. They are a pod that is designed specifically to keep the dog out of certain areas. You can either set them wirelessly to create a circular exclusion zone, or use them with up to 150 feet of wire to create a custom shaped exclusion zone. The outdoor pods are also a lot cheaper than a full regular system.

Tom G February 22, 2010 at 2:52 pm

We have a lakefront lot and would like to let the dogs go into the lake but not leave the property . Is this possible ? Thanks Tom

ADMIN – Hi Tom,

Hi Tom,

Establishing a water boundary is harder. but doable. It is harder because there is no easy way to get flags out ont he water and it is harder to train the dogs to quickly turn and retreat in the water if they cannot stand. The actual installation is easy. You can just run the wire through the water as per normal. Many people put the wire through an old hose and either float it across the surface or weigh is down.

You should also consider whether you want the dogs to have free reign over the water. Whenever we do this for clients with indoor dogs, they end up moving the boundary because the dogs swim and then track mud into the house.

phil February 3, 2010 at 7:05 pm

I want to do a backyard only layout. The dog will be leaving the rear of the house through a 2nd story kitchen via a sliding door at the rear house exterior and onto a deck which is 9 feet above ground. The dog then enters the backyard by walking off the deck & going down the steps to the lawn below. Can I prevent shocking the dog if I have just one continuous backyard loop with a wire running along the ground at the back of the house’s exterior wall i.e. when the dog leaves the house it would be about 9 feet above the wire on the ground below.

ADMIN – Hi Phil,

Using the vertical separation and going under the deck works. As long as the boundary wire doesn’t get within say 8 feet (Assuming you set the boundary width to 5 feet, and want another 3 feet safety space) of the dog then you are all set. You also want to check the stair down to the yard to make sure they are not within 8 feet at any point. Also you want ot check that the signal is not getting through the back wall into parts of the house where you want the dog to be able to roam freely. If you do have that kind of separation, you are good to go!

Dargan January 24, 2010 at 12:44 am

I am looking into getting one of your fences and it looks like I will need to do a loop of the house ( I only want to get the backyard covered). However, the flowerbeds I will need to run the wire through on one side of the house are very close. From the base of the window to the far side of the flowerbed is only about 2 to 3 feet. I saw that if you bury the wire deeper it will be less effective. If I set the wire to a 6 foot barrier on either side how deep would I need to bury the wire along the windows to prevent the dog being shocked inside the house? Thanks for the information, it has been very helpful.

ADMIN – Hi Dargan,

It will depend on what your walls are made out of and the type of soil. But, I would think you would need to go about one foot down. The only way to know for certain would be to bury a section and test it out.

Matthew January 22, 2010 at 11:21 am

For a backyard only installation can I use twisted wire along the house to complete the loop?

ADMIN – Hi Mathew,

You cannot use the twisted wire as part of the loop. The twisted wire is used to go from the transmitter box to the start of the loop. There are a few other options if you want to do a back yard only layout. (1) You can run the wire along the back of your house, up a downspout, through the gutter and down a downspout. This vertical height over the ground should let your dog get through. (2) run the wire tight around the front of the house. (3) do a U-shaped loop that doubles back on itself with six feet of separation between the sections of loop.

Connie January 10, 2010 at 4:17 pm

We have put the PetSafe Ultrasmart around our 5 acres, but would now like to add an exclusion zone. To use the e-zone drawing above as an example, which is much like our house area, the transmitter is at the front of the house near the driveway and the twisted wired runs about 30 feet, parallel to the drive, out to the perimeter. The landscape area I wish to protect is directly along the front of the house and the twisted wire runs right through the driveway edge of the garden. The area is only about 6 feet wide, but it is the dog’s favorite area for digging (and he has five other acres he could dig!!). Can a small loop be run connecting to the same twisted wire that runs to the perimeter, or must I run another twisted line from the exclusion loop to perimeter?\

Hi Connie,

You can hang a loop off the twisted wire.

Another option if you are trying to protect a small area, is to use one of these new Pawz Away wireless outdoor pods that work with the PetSafe Ultrasmart (the rock).

Ryan December 30, 2009 at 2:44 pm


I have about 11 acres that i have fenced with 3 elctric fence wires already surounding my property. Could i disconnect my bottom electric fence wire from the top and middle wire and use the bottom wire for my boundry wire? The bottom wire is about 12 inches off the ground!

ADMIN – Hi Ryans,

Unfortunately, you will need to run a difference wire. The wire needs to be insulated. Also, sometimes you will get interference between the dog fence wire and the electric fence wire and will need to separate them by a few feet. I would do a test strip from 20 feet or so and see if your system gets interference before stringing up all 11 acres.

Bob Cooper December 27, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Great site. To make my life easier I’d like to run under our gravel driveway by running the wire through a cement pipe — the kind you have to allow water to pass under the drive. The concrete is probably 2″ thick and 4″ of gravel lay on top. Do you see any issues with this?

Also is there a collar that combines a bark collar with a normal fence collar?

ADMIN – Hi Bob,

The only issue is that you will have to turn up the boundary width to get the signal up through the pipe and gravel, which may in turn make the boundary too wide at some other point.

Unfortunately, there is no combination bark and fence collar. If you do add a bark collar, I would wait about a month after I finished the dog fence training. That way you will avoid the dog getting confused between the two.

Lisa252 December 24, 2009 at 3:34 pm

I just put in an invisible fence and am having problems. I had professionals install the wire and unit for me and at first it seemed to work ok. The next morning I came downstairs and the collars were going crazy beeping and vibrating. The company said it was probably some wires nearby (there were some cable wires on the ground) so I unscrewed the cable wires and removed them from the area but that did not solve it. I have the unit in my garage. I am really getting discouraged and I”d appreciate it if you’d tell me what to check for.

Steve December 19, 2009 at 1:27 pm

First off, thanks for a surprisingly informative website for us dog lovers! Truly impressive that you’re sharing these tips with us, and I see you promptly respond to posts. We’re very appreciative!

I have a stray mama lab mix and two puppies who recently “adopted” us. I think mama may have had the pups under my barn. I have 10 acres, and want to give the dogs 2 or 3, in the back yard and your design tips have been valuable. Could you explain a bit more how to deal with running the wires across a paved (asphalt) driveway?

ADMIN – Hi Steve,

The Labrador puppy is really irresistible! Congratulations on the new family!

Three basic options: over, under or through. You can run he wire over the driveway, some people will use a plastic bridge or an old hosepipe to protect the wire and some people will just lay it over the driveway naked. You can tunnel under the driveway although that is a major pain unless there is already a conduit in place. But, what most people will do is cut a shallow slot across the driveway using a circular saw, lay the wire and then fill over it with an outdoor caulk.

There is a lot more information on the installation section of the website in the driveways sections.

Chuck December 18, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Can i run 1 leg of the boundry wire under my house in my crawlspace to get to the otherside of the house to join up with the other leg? If i do this will this setup trigger the collar while the dog is in the house?

ADMIN – Hi Chuck,

You can run wire under the house in the crawlspace, but you want to lay it as low down as possible and adjust the boundary width dial to stop the signal penetrating up into the house. You will want to test up in the house with the collar to ensure that you are not inadvertently getting the signal up in the house.

Bill December 13, 2009 at 1:54 pm

How big an area can a system cover? I’m looking at 12 acres.

ADMIN – Hi Bill,

The systems have different capacities and can go up to 100 acres. Some examples, PetSafe Stubborn (10 acres); PetSafe Ultrasmart (25 acres); and the SportDog SDF-100 (100 acres)

Brandy November 30, 2009 at 1:36 pm

I’m looking into adding an invisible fence to an existing chain link fence. My dogs are determined diggers and have found a variety of ways out including through concrete poored in the holes. The problem is that the dog pen is away from any power source and is 50’x 50′. Two questions 1) is there a way to power it through solar power perhaps, and 2) will it reduce their area by a lot if I put it on the fence? Our property includes about 4 acres, and chickens which they like to massacare…so I really don’t want to give them the run of the property. Also, I’m concerned that the deterrant may not be enough to keep them from the chickens. What do you think?

ADMIN – Hi Brandy,

There is not a good alternative power source that I am aware of. Perhaps you could put the control box in the nearest powered structure and run the wire over to the dog pen.

The system will reduce the usable area of the pen. You can set the wideness of the correction field and are probably going to want it set to about 3 feet at first. The dogs will also not get too close at first, so I would say you would end up with an effective area of 40′ x 40′. Once they are used to the system, you can narrow the correction area, and probably expand the usable area a couple more feet.

Chickens are always going to be a temptation, but one you can overcome. The key is the training. I would be nice and consistent with the training.for the first two weeks. Then in the third week I would use a chicken to test their compliance and make sure they learn that the boundary rules needs to be heeded even if there is a plump juicy chicken strutting past the cage. The more you can practice with the specific temptation the better.

Stacey November 28, 2009 at 1:00 pm

I’ve skipped around reading the other comments but if I understand what I’m picking up… If I want to do the backyard only set-up without the extra boundary line, I could run the wire through the gutter along the back of the house and down to the ground on each end, then out and around the backyard? Being that the wire would be up along the gutter it would be far enough away that the dogs wouldn’t get zapped coming in or going out of the house?

We have 2 schnoodle pups, about 3-1/2 months old. Are they too young to start working with them on this?

ADMIN – Hi Stacey,

Going through the gutter will work. You want to have the boundary width turned down enough so that the signal is not reaching the ground from the gutter. (3-5 feet is fine for most people). Then you want to use the collar to test that the correction signal is not getting anywhere where unintended. you want to have a safety buffer of a few feet to make sure that the dog isn’t getting the correction anywhere unintended.

When to start training pups? I like to wait till six months, many pups just aren’t cognitively ready to focus on training until then. If the owner really wants, I will train dogs as young as four month provided the dogs can confidently do a sit, stay and come.

Dale November 27, 2009 at 9:17 pm

I have a 4 yo rescued female Lab who (apparently) jumps our chain-link fences in the backyard. We have a high wood fence at the back of the property that she cannot get past, but a chain-link on each side of the back yard, so really it’s just those two sides we need to protect. Can I run the wire along the top of the side-fences and back-fence instead of burying it – and use your suggestion for the gutter along the back of the house?

ADMIN – Hi Dale,

Sounds like a good plan. You may consider running the wire along the bottom/middle of the chain fence to make it closer to where the dog’s collar will be when the dog is getting near the fence. The wire along the wood fence can go up high because we don’t mind if she gets close, but we want the chain link wire closer to dog height to stop her getting near that fence. (or you could turn up the boundary width so that the signal reaches the bottom of the chain link fence even if the wire is up high)

Nick November 22, 2009 at 12:39 pm

ok, im trying to put in a seperate area for my dogs to stay out of. i have a perimeter all around my house, now i am trying to put up a small area to keep them out. at first i thought my 2 wires were to close, but i tried to seperate the wires and it still did not work. what i did was just stripped an area off my wire i had already and put both ends of the new area wire there, that did not work, so i seperated where i connected my 2 ends. that still did not work. do you have any suggestions to what i might be doing wrong?

ADMIN – Hi Nick,

I presume you are trying to put in an exclusion zone. You will need to cut the main boundary loop where you are going to connect in the exclusion zone loop . Splice one end of the main boundary loop wire to one end of the exclusion zone loop wire, and the other end of the boundary loop wire to the other exclusion zone loop wire.

Paige Davis November 14, 2009 at 9:39 am

Your website has been extremely informative! Thansks so much! I am in the “ready to buy” phase for electric fence. I have a 5 foot physical fence around our backyard and two very persistent 11 lb. mini- dachshunds who find endless ways to escape and chase squirrels in the neighbors yard. I have to stop this for their safety and my peace of mind. Two questions for you. First, in order to complete the loop in my back yard only, can I go run the wire on the top and bottom of the 5 ft fence or is that not enough distance? Otherwise, I can use the gutter system you suggested to another person. One more option is to run up the gutter, through the attic and down the other side. Obviously, the fence would be the easiest if the 5ft vertical distance is enough.
Second, is the Petsafe Small dog the best choice for my size dogs? Not thrilled with the plastic collors or non-rechargeable batteries. but if it’s the best choice for their size I can deal with it. Thanks for your knowledge:)

ADMIN – Hi Paige,

Thanks for the compliment! Try the top and bottom of the fence. With only 5 feet of separation, you will not be able to turn up the boundary width very high (probably 2-3 feet); but this should be fine since you already have a fence in place, so the dachshunds can’t really dash (sorry!) through the fence. It will be much faster and easier than going through the gutter. And on the off chance it is not working for you you can switch to the gutter/attic method pretty easily.

The PetSafe little dog is the best choice for dogs under 11lbs. But you are pretty close to the borderline, so you could try something rechargeable like the Ultrasmart instead. I think they would be happier with the small dog collar though.

Kris W. November 6, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Great information and thanks for providing this. We live on a point of land surrounded on three sides by a lake. We’ve run a continuous loop across the fourth side of the property to keep the dogs from crossing. The lake keeps them confined on the other side as they only swim to chase balls or boat (which is why we don’t want to have the fence around the property in the summer). However, in the winter when the lake freezes, the dogs figure out that they can go just about anywhere they want. I am wondering if it’s possible to include another single run of wire around the property attached at one end of the existing loop and use a manual switch to alter the flow of the fence at the other end so that in the summer, it uses the closed loop in the front but in the winter, it switches one of the connections of the loop to go around the property.

ADMIN – Hi Kris,

You could absolutely have a switch that lets you change the configuration of the loop. When you do the switch every winter, I would just put the flags up for a couple of days to let them understand that the fence location has changed.

Jen VonB November 1, 2009 at 11:32 pm

Hi there! I obviously have a question for you. I am interested in the backyard only layout. We have about 1/3 acre back there, so the double boundries, I think, would still provide plenty of room for my two puppies to run around. I have a 20 lb Llahsa Apso (1 year and likes to run) and a 6 month old lab mix that is shy. My question is: Since the boundry is doubled, does that mean that if one of the dog’s were to run through the first “zap” to the outer boundry, would there be another “zap” after that 6 foot buffer? Is it like having a double fence?

Thank You!

ADMIN – Hi Jen.

It would indeed behave like a double fence. The correction would occur in the vicinity of the first wire, then again in the vicinity of the second wire.

Donald Archer October 26, 2009 at 11:23 am

What is the maximum footage of wire I can run. I want to use it for my Austrailian Sheperd. We use him to work cattle on our farm. I would like to run at least 3000 ft. minimum. If possible I would like to cover about 30 acres around the barn and cattle working areas. Also, would it be alright to run the wire down the fence line above ground. Would the electic fence wire interfere with the dog control wire.



ADMIN – Hi Donald,

The maximum footage depends on the system. The ones to look at would be the Innotek 5100, the PetSafe UltraSmart, the SportDog and the Dogtra. The Innotek IUC 5100 and UltraSmart can do 25 acres (5000) feet. The Dogtra EF-3000 can do up to 40 acres (6000 feet). The SportDog SDF-100 can do 50 acres (7000) feet.

You can run the wire along a fence line, the wire does not need to be buried.

You can get interference from an electric fence, so it is best to stay six feet away. Sometimes you can get away with it, the only way to know for sure is to run a small length of line and see if everything works ok. But, again, best to give it a bit of distance.

Stephen October 24, 2009 at 3:10 pm

I don’t have an outlet on an outside wall of my garage. How far can I run the twisted portion of my loop?

ADMIN – Hi Stephen,

There is no limit on the amount of twisted wire you can run.

So if we put the control box on the inside wall of the garage, we could run the wire along the walls to get to the outside wall. Alternatively, we could put the control box on the outside wall and run an extension cord from the inside wall outlet to the control box.

gary October 24, 2009 at 9:39 am

I have a fenced back yard where one side of the square is my house and the other 3 are split rail fencing. My dog jumps the 4 foot fence and I want to run the wire on the fence but allow the dog to enter the house. I don’t like the double loop because of the space it requires. 1. Can the twisted wire be run from transmitter and then have the other end tied together and connected to the boundary wire ( 3 wire spliced) so that a double loop is not required? If not, how high up would I need to go to run single wire over the doors? I have a 2 story house and don’t want to have to go that high to place in gutter.

ADMIN – Hi Gary,

Hi Gary,

Unfortunately there is no way to avoid having a complete loop of the boundary wire, you cannot use the twisted wire as part of the loop or do a 3 wire splice.

The height above the door depends on how wide you set the boundary width at the control box. You need at least that much clearance over the door to ensure the dog can come in and out of the house safely. Since we are coming up to fall, perhaps you can get whomever cleans out your gutters to run the wire for you?

Another option might be to do the double loop with one wire going along the top of the fence and the return leg going along the bottom of the fence. Just be sure to set the boundary width to something pretty low (i.e. about two feet), since the two wires are going to be only four feet apart and you don’t want interference between them.

Bob October 14, 2009 at 12:43 am

Along the north side of my house, I have about a 10 foot gap between the house and the fence where I’d like to locate my line. In a portion of the area, the gap narrows to about 5 feet because of an air conditioning unit located alongside the house. I’d like the dogs to be able to use this area and pass through it. I bought the PetSafe Stubborn Dog Fence. Will this setup work? I did see the trick about locating the wire along the top of the fence. My dogs are big, but not stubborn, and are very friendly.

I also could skip this part and the rest of the yard where I have my fence if I doubleloop my layout. However, I would need to pass two sets of wire across my driveway where I only have a groove for one wire if I maintain the recommended 3-5 foot gap between wires. If I do the double loop, is my only alternative to cut another groove in my driveway? Finally, if I do double loop, do the correction and warning zones start from the inside or outside loop because I may have a gap problem on this side if it is the inside? Thanks.

ADMIN – Hi Bob,

Usually I would say that six feet is the minimum, that lets you set the fence at three feet wide and gives them another three feet safety space. You could make five feet work, especially if you locate the wire at the top of the fence which reduces it’s effective range.

Try the single loop first, the double loop is a pain and really cuts down on the usable space.

For a double loop, you would have to cut a second groove in the driveway, at least six feet from the first. The warning zone would start from the inside loop.

Casper's Mom October 10, 2009 at 10:23 pm

Wow! Fast response and what you said makes SO much sense – setting that routine! Thanks for the link too. Am currently pricing products but I’m impressed with your support – that says a lot to me!! Oh, and yes, this Mom is indeed chief chef and doggie hugger of Casper! Being a former NON-dog lover, she came to us as a stray and changed my mind! She worked her magic! Take care!!

Casper's Mom October 9, 2009 at 11:47 pm

I think it’s a wonderful and generous service to share your knowledge so freely! I learned a lot looking at your website – Thank you!

Now, to pick your brain! Two questions: 1.)We live on 2+ acres and along the front part of the property (450 feet) is a very busy highway and our driveway access. Clearly we want to keep Casper out of the highway but we walk her across the road into BLM property to get exercise. There is no gate across the driveway. How do we not confuse Casper that crossing the boundary we will lay parallel to the road is only okay to cross with us? 2.)You mention utility lines – ours are not buried but are on poles above and are located along the busy road and the boundary will run parallel to power lines. I thought I saw somewhere in your instructions that power lines on poles are far enough away as not to interfere with the boundary signal…… right? Thanks much!!

ADMIN – Hi Casper’s Mom (and presumably Casper’s Chef, Butler, Vet, Personal Trainer, and Buddy)!

Appreciate the compliment.

1) For the first few weeks, try and drive her over the boundary when you want to take her for a walk, so she doesn’t get confused. But after the first month, you can develop a routine for exiting the property. (Ours is, she comes to the door, I take off the dog fence collar, put on the walking collar, put her on a leash, and walk through the same part of the boundary every time). The dogs resist the first couple of times, but quickly learn that there is an exception when going on a walk with you.

There is a bit more information on the topic:

2) Overhead powerlines are not an issue. They are so high above the ground that you don’t get any interference. The issue ocassionally arrises when power lines are in the ground, parallel and close to the boundary wire. But, with overhead lines you get so much vertical separation that you are fine.

Adam October 9, 2009 at 10:29 pm

I’m about to move into a new home and would like to install a dog fence. My initial plan was to install a perimeter fence with a dog door on the side of the house so that our dog can let herself out. I am a bit concerned now that this setup is going to work because there is not a ton of room between the property line and the side of the house. If I place the wire directly on the property line, how close to the wire will our dog be able to get? Are there any tricks for this type of situation?

I was considering that I could change my layout to do a backyard only setup(double back loop) and use the returning loop along the properly line to cancel out a portion of the signal and “tune” the field width so that the dog can use the space. Will this work?

ADMIN – Hi Adam,

(1) You can adjust the width of the boundary. But as a practical matter, to let dogs through a thin spot you need at least 6 feet. You don’t want a boundary less than 3 feet because it is much thinner, it can be hard to train the dog as they start to figure out they can run through. Then you need about a three feet safety buffer for the dog to feel comfortable.

One trick, is that if you have a fence on the boundary line, you can put the line on top of the fence and the vertical separation reduces the effective width of the boundary in that section. Another trick is to find a sympathetic neighbour and see if they will let you go onto their property a little bit.

(2) The cancelling out is not very consistent (for the physics majors: you get interference patterns), you get some parts where is cancelled and some parts where it still works. So I would not rely on it.

Donna October 9, 2009 at 9:21 am

Thanks for the answer! If I go wtih the double loop, that will significantly reduce the roaming area for the dogs, so I guess I’d need to get an expansion kit and splice the wires to connect them? I’ve done this with my stereo and a lamp I rewired, so I guess I can handle it.

I was going to wait until spring on this “little” purchase, but my puggle changed my mind last night when his collar broke on me twice last night and I had to go chasing him through the neighborhood. Guess I’ll be buying it today. Thanks for your help!

Now I’ve got to find the single man to dig the trench. 🙂

Donna October 8, 2009 at 11:45 am

Hi – I would like to get a system for my 3 dogs and would ultimately like to do the backyard only design. I’m not understanding why that design requires a double-loop set up. Also, if I were to do the hour-glass design, so my front yard is also accessible, how do I do the wire across the driveway? I’m not keen on burying the wire, I’d prefer the no-dig method. Ehhh….I’m a single woman, digging is not my favorite thing to do.

I have a very large yard and like the idea of backyard only, since I like to walk them and don’t want to confuse them with which side of the house is the way we go for walks, and which is the side where they can run around like madmen.

ADMIN – Hi Donna,

(1) You need to make a complete loop for the system to work. Most people doing a backyard only and don’t want the loop to go across their back door, because they want the dog to be able to enter and leave the house freely without having to take the collars off. Hence the need for the double-loop or the hour-glass.

(2) To get across the driveway, most people find an expansion joint, cut across with a circular saw, insert the wire and then caulk over. If you don’t want to do that, if your expansion joints are deep enough, just place the wire in the expansion joint and caulk over if you can.

(3) Don’t dig, find a single man … digging is one of our few strong points 🙂 Seriously, it is fine if you don’t want to bury it, just staple it down really tightly to the ground, and when you mow raise the mower up to the highest setting. You will have to deal with the occasional break, but soon the grass will grow over it and you will be set.

Just for the record, it is not that hard to dig, just hire a trencher and let the machine do all the work.

Marty September 28, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Our property backs up to high tension overhead power lines. Do you know if that will cause any issues? The lines themselves are about 15-20 yards beyond where I would run the fence.

ADMIN – Hi Marty,

Hi Marty,

Power lines, even high voltage power lines aren’t a problem because there is so much vertical separation between the lines and the pet containment fence wire.

John Marlin September 22, 2009 at 10:32 am

In order to stay within my property lines for a backyard only layout would I have to lay the outer wire on the property line resulting in the protected area being six feet inside the outer wire? I have a rather small back yard and would like to have the largest protected area possible.

ADMIN – Hi John

Here are another couple of options:

(1) Complete the loop by going along the front of the house, but close enough to the front that the dog could not actually go to he front yard.

(2) Complete the loop by going through the gutters in your backyard. (ie. along the three sides of your backyard then up the gutter downpipe, along the gutter line, and down the downpipe on the other side) The vertical height over your back door would still let hte dog go in and out through the back door.

Jacquie Hammond August 27, 2009 at 9:41 am

Can the transmitter box be placed on a covered front porch attached to the house?
We have a power outlet on our front porch.

Admin – Hi Jacquie,

As long as you are sheltered from the rain you are fine.

Laurie August 4, 2009 at 6:44 pm

We are considering a dog fence for our property, but have a question about the need to run wire at the back property line where there are already existing physical fences our neighbors have installed. Do we have to run boundary wire at the back fence line, or can we use twisted wire along that section, as long as we maintain a loop? Would twisted wire also be appropriate to connect a segment of boundary wire that is isolated between two physical boundaries?

ADMIN – Hi Laurie

The boundary wire always has to form a complete loop. You cannot use the twisted wire to replace a section of boundary wire.

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