Thursday, March 19, 2015

Do and Dont's of Electronic Fences for Dogs

Electronic fences are training systems designed to keep the owner’s dog in the yard or within a set boundary in the yard. Using a transmitter to send a signal to underground wires, electronic fences create an effective boundary that is invisible to the eye. The dog wears a collar receiver that sounds an alarm if the animal wanders too close to the boundary, and if the dog continues to go near the boundary, the collar gives a mild static correction. After being trained, the dog can respond to an auditory signal, minimizing the static correction.

Although an electronic fence provides an invisible alternative to traditional fences, it is important for the owner to know whether or not such a system is best for their needs. Learning the basic do’s and don’ts before purchasing an electronic fence system is a good idea for undecided owners and owners who want to use the system effectively. Professionally-installed fences can be purchased directly from a fence company or local dealers. Electronic fences can also be purchased in hardware and pet supply stores, as well as through Internet retailers and online marketplaces like eBay...

The Do’s of Electronic Fence Systems
Electronic fence systems provide a concealed barrier that prevents dogs from jumping or digging under their predetermined boundaries. With an effective but harmless correction, dogs can be trained quickly to stay within the set boundary or keep them away from designated areas in the owner’s yard, such as a pool or garden bed. Although electronic fences offer many benefits, it is important to learn all the do’s to ensure the best possible use of this containment system.

1. Do Consult a Veterinarian
When using an electronic fence, it is important for the user to consult a veterinarian since these devices are not appropriate for all dogs. A veterinarian can determine if using an electronic fence is appropriate for the owner’s dog based on its medical records and temperament. This do is crucial because if the owner’s dog is not well suited to an electronic fence, the owner will have spent a significant amount of money and time on an ineffective containment method.

2. Do Plot the Wire Perimeter Beforehand
Whether the owner is having an electronic fence professionally installed or doing it on his own, it is a good idea to pre-plot the perimeter where the wires will be buried. This preparation allows for a quicker installation time because it helps the installer or owner determine what kind of tools may be required; for example if the wires need to be run through concrete or pavement, then a circular saw with a masonry blade will be required to dig a trench for the wire. If the owner is using a DIY kit, plotting the perimeter is especially helpful because it determines the amount of wire needed for the job. Also, certain transmitters cover more area than others, so it is good to know what kind of area needs to be contained to get the appropriate transmitter to cover it.

3. Do Test Wires Above Ground
Professional installers test the electronic fence system for the dog owner, but owners doing their own installation must make sure to test the system before burying the wires. This saves owners the hassle of having to dig up the wires if something is not working correctly.

4. Do Invest Enough Time to Train the Dog
Once the veterinarian has signed off on the use of an electronic fence, it is important for the owner to spend the right amount of time to train the dog on how the fence operates. A minimum of 48 continuous hours needs to set aside to train the dog for maximum effectiveness, although some dogs may require more training time. The owner must place the perimeter flags between 5 and 10 feet apart so the dog has visual cues. Every hour the owner must take the dog near the boundary using a leash until the receiver collar beeps, then he or she must pull the dog away and give it a treat or praise. When the owner is not training, the dog must remain indoors or away from the boundary. Near the end of the 48 hours, the owner can let the dog wander near the boundary on its own to see if the dog is learning. The dog must be pulled away from the boundary at minimum 50 times for the training to take effect.

5. Do Test Collar Batteries Often
The dog owner should test the collar batteries often since they need replacing every three to six months. If the owner’s dog tests the boundaries often, then the batteries might need replacing sooner. Having fully functional batteries is crucial for the electronic fence to operate as intended.

The Don’ts of Electronic Fence Systems
It is important for the dog owner to be fully aware of all the don’ts that come with using an electronic fence system. Knowing the don’ts ensures optimal satisfaction for both the owner and his or her dog.

1. Don’t Use a Fence With Certain Types of Dogs
As stated above, it is important to consult a veterinarian before using an electronic fence, but as a general rule of thumb, it is not recommended to use this type of system for guard dogs, vicious dogs, or dogs with health problems. Guard dogs, by their very nature, should not be contained in an electronic fence because their instincts are to protect their home at whatever cost and they will try to leave the boundary if they feel the need to protect their territory. The static correction can aggravate vicious dogs, so it is not a good idea to use this type of containment. The correction can harm dogs with health problems, such as heart conditions, because although the correction is mild, it can be jolting.

2. Don’t Run Wire Along Other Wires
If the owner is installing the system, he or she needs to make sure not to run the ground wires along electrical, telephone, or antenna wires to prevent electrical hazards and service interruption. Similarly, the wires should not be run along television cables or near satellite dishes. It is best to check with utility companies if the owner is unsure of where power lines are located so the fence wires do not cross power lines.

3. Don’t Put the Transmitter Outdoors
The transmitter should not be placed in a shed or barn where it may get wet. The best place to put the transmitter is indoors in a dry and protected area. Professional installers can choose the best possible location for the transmitter and can also ground it so malfunction does not occur during power loss or surges. If the owner is installing the electronic fence system, DIY kits include instructions on how to properly ground the transmitter. It is important to not skip this step to prevent damage to the electronic fence system.

Choosing a Professional or DIY Electronic Fence
Electronic dog fences are good alternatives when other types of barriers fail. Professional electronic fences can be pricey, but most companies install through the use of nationwide network of professional installers. The installers bury the cable and install the transmitter, making sure to test the system before use, and some companies even provide assistance in training the owner’s dog. Although professional systems provide the full package in terms of installation, they can run a few thousand dollars compared to do-it-yourself systems that cost a few hundred dollars. DIY electronic fence systems typically come with 500 feet of wire and transmitters with the capacity to enclose an area of 25 acres. There are more high power transmitters available to enclose larger areas, as well as additional wire if needed. The owner must decide how close his or her dog can get to the boundary before receiving a warning; once determined by the owner, the distance can be adjusted on the indoor transmitter. The distance can range from 1 foot to 30 feet, depending on the system the owner purchased. DIY electronic fence kits usually come with flags for marking the boundary during the dog training process, but other tools that may be needed for installation are a spade, lawn edger, shovel, wire stripping pliers, and electrical tape. When installing an electronic fence, it is important to read all the installation directions and refer to the do’s and don’ts to prevent any electrical hazards.

Wireless Fence Options
To avoid the hassle of burying wires, dog owners can consider wireless containment options. Wireless fence systems employ the use of radio signals in a centralized area to create a uniform boundary. Since this type of system uses radio signals, it can emit through walls but may not be the best choice for irregular-shaped yards.

Where to Buy an Electronic Dog Fence System
For professional installation, it is best to purchase an electronic fence system directly from the manufacturer or through one of its local dealers. Pet supply and hardware stores, as well as certain brick and mortar stores, sell DIY electronic fence systems. Although electronic fences can be purchased second hand, it is always best to test whether or not all the components are in working order to prevent any electrical hazards or harm to the owner’s dog. Electronic fence systems can also be purchased on the Internet through online retailers and auction sites like eBay.


Electronic fence systems were invented to help owners contain their dogs in the yard with the use of a transmitter, wiring, and a receiver collar. With buried wires or wireless transmitters, this electronic fence provides an invisible boundary and is a good alternative when dogs are constantly digging under or jumping over traditional barriers. Once owners have chosen between a professional or do-it-yourself electronic fence, it is important for them to know all the basic do’s and don’ts to ensure the most effective and safe containment for their dog. Electronic fences for dogs can be purchased at hardware or pet supply stores, as well as select brick and mortar stores. They can also be purchased online through retailers or auction sites like eBay. Although electronic fence systems have many advantages, it is always best for the owner to consult with a veterinarian to make sure his or her dog is well-suited for this type of containment.