Dog Fence How To Prepare

After you have picked out the make and model of your dog fence, you can get started on laying out the basic design of the boundary lines and perimeters for your fence. Most of these systems use wires and flag sticks that are held underground, so it's vital that do prep work to learn about what is the grass on your property. Aside from damaging your fence or utility lines, it's also a security concern.

Before you even think about taking your dog fence or dog containment system out of the box, you should pick up the phone and Call 8-1-1. This Free Service sends a locater to your home to survey the land for all underground utility lines, pipes or boxes. It can often take up to a week for a surveyor to come out, so try to schedule it well in advance of installing your fence. Surveyors can also show you where the true property lines of your yard.

Planning the Layout

Now that you know which parts of your are "off-limits" because of underground utility lines, it's important to sketch out a rough idea of where you want your dog to play. Pools, driveways, roadways, vegetable gardens and neighboring properties need to be considered before putting down the wire.

When you are drawing the layout, be sure to consider five important questions:

  1. How much wire are you working with? Will this effect how you want to place the boundary lines of your Electric Fence.
  2. Where will you put your transmitter? For most systems, you need it placed in a cool, dry place away from weather's elements. You will also need to power it with an 110V outlet. Most transmitters can be installed on a wall in a garage.
  3. Are you avoiding utility lines? Just because you didn't dig on top of your utility lines doesn't mean that you should use them as a guide for your fence. Electrical currents from your fence and utility can affect each other. Be sure to put a safe distance between your fence and underground utility lines.
  4. Are you rounding corners? Tight 90-degree angles can cause bunching and malfunctions in a fence. Be sure to make your corners as soft and gradual as possible when diagramming your fence.
  5. Have you given the boundary wires enough space? The electric currents in your dog fence can be interrupted if you touch, overlay or place parallel wires too close to each other. Put at least six feet of space between your fence's wires.

Furthermore, if you have a neighbor with an electric fence, be sure that you are a safe distance from their wires, too.

By Sean Bowes







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Dog Fence Laying the Boundary Wire

After you have purchased your Electric Dog Fence, you're ready to make the first steps towards having a well-contained backyard. By now, you should have already called 8-1-1 to have someone survey your underground utilities. After you have called, located a safe place for your transmitter and measured how much wire you have to work with, it's finally time to choose the layout of your electric fence.

Depending on the size of your home, proximity to neighbors and potential hazards (roadways, gardens and pools or lakes), you may have many different options to create a boundary within your yard. One convenience to consider is that you can create a "dead zone" within your fence by twisting boundary wires together. This allows you to make a safe passage for your dog where it won't be stimulated because the wires' electric charge cancels each other out.

To create a dead zone within your dog fence, you simply twist the wires closely together and your dog will not feel any stimulation when it crosses over the crisscrossed wires. This is ideal to bring a closed loop boundary line back the transmitter or control box.

Below are some basic boundary options for pet owners, take special note of the twisted lines:

  • Front Boundary Only: If you're already utilizing a portion of a physical fence or barrier and need to block off one straight line, use this design. Twist the wires to give your dog space up run along the yard. It can cross over the twisted wires without being stimulated.


  • Fenced Front or Backyard Only: By "double looping" your wire, you create two physical boundaries that your dog will not cross. This also allows you to easily layout the design back to the transmitter/control box. If you choose to use this method, be sure to keep at least six-feet of the space between the two sections of wire. This ensures that the signal and charge remains strong in the wire. Wires that are close to each other make cause malfunctions or "weak spots."

  • Basic Loop: This is ideal for pet owners who want to utilize the front and backyard. Using the twisted wire method, you can run a "dead zone" of the fence up to your boundary line and wrap a single line of wire in both directions.


  • Basic Loop With Exclusion Zone: Pools, gardens, wells or ponds can all be hazardous to your dog. If you have a specific area in your yard you want to make "off-limits," simply use the twisted wire technique and loop a boundary wire around the hazard area. Then, trace it back to the main perimeter line of your fence.

  • Loop With Existing Fence: Electric fences can be used in unison with a physical fence. Electric fences can add another level of protection for dogs that dig, and can be used for homeowners who only have fences on one side of their property. Use the same layout as the Basic Loop technique, but run the wireless fence alongside the physical fence to keep your dog inbounds.

It's critical to test your system and the dead zones you have created before burying your wires. Remember to twist the wires tightly to create a properly working dead zone for your dog to cross, especially since you will be burying these wires. It is recommended to twist the wires at least 16 times per foot of wire to ensure that you have shorted out the electrical signal.

By Sean Bowes





Dog Fence How To Properly Bury The Wires

Once you have purchased the make/model dog fence that was appropriate for your pooch and decided on the layout that is ideal for your yard, then you are ready for installation. Before getting started on running the wires for your layout, though, you want to be sure you have properly mounted and tested your transmitter.

With a transmitter in place (in a dry, easy to access location), you can begin laying out the wire.

First, make sure that you do not have your system plugged in (you can test your system after you lay the wire). Now, untangle the wires and begin running them along your boundary zone. You should have already called the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) by dialing 8-1-1 for a free survey of your property's utilities. Avoiding underground utility electric and water lines is essential before digging.

When you lay out your wire, be sure to compensate an extra 30% length of wire. This will allow you to keep your perimeter consistent with your layout after you bury your fence. Then, after you place the wire along your intended boundary line, you can test your fence. Turn on the transmitter and use a test light that was provided with your system to check various parts of your fence. You should also make sure that “dead zone” portions of your wire (sections that you have twisted the fence's wires to create a non-stimuli passage) do no trigger the test light.

Putting The Wire Underground

Although fences can be placed above ground, it's much more common for homeowners to put the wires a few inches below the surface to keep the boundary line from shifting and to keep the aesthetic looks of their yard.

For safety measures, it is recommended to bury the wire 3-4 inches underground. By digging a 4-inch deep cut where your wire first enters the ground near your transmitter/control box, you can continue along your fence's path. Below are some options for digging the shallow trench for your fence's wire:

  • Garden Spade: You can purchase a small shovel or a garden spade to dig a shallow trench for your fence's wire. Dig a 30 to 45 degree angle cut with a flat-edge spade to easily make a 4-inch hole for your wire.
  • Fence Mounting: If you already have a physical fence for your yard, then you may want to use it in conjunction with an electric system. Many pet owners use an electric fence along a wooden one to prevent digging or damage to their yards. Plus, a physical fence is a great visual aid for training dogs to stay in their own containment area. By using staples or zip-ties, you can quickly attach the wires to a wooden or chain link fence. For fence mounting, it is recommended to place the fences' wire at neck-high on your dog for optimum performance. This will also allow you landscape without hitting the electric fence. Note* electric systems DO NOT work with sheet metal fences.
  • Edger: These gas or electric powered garden tools are great for putting space between a sidewalk and a grassy front yard. However, aside from manicuring yards, these can be great for digging a shallow line for your fence's wires. Many home improvement stores have these for purchase or you can rent one if you're on a budget.
  • Above Ground: As we mentioned earlier, some homeowners choose not to bury their fences. This is fine for areas of your yard that are mowed or weed-wacked. To install an above ground fence, use lawn staples to keep your wires in place after you have laid out your perimeter.
  • Trencher: If you're covering a super large area with your electric fence, then you may consider a trencher. This is a machine that quickly cuts into the ground and can rapidly put the wire into the ground. It is a very speedy way to lay wire, but it requires a watchful eye. Commercial wire-placing trenchers can sometimes damage dog fence wires, so you may choose to put the wire in-ground by hand.

Whichever method you choose to bury your fence's wires, be sure to keep a six-feet distance of space between the wires in parallel layout sections. A well-spaced system will operate much better if you the wires have their own area to operate. Most importantly, triple check that you know what is below the ground before start to dig.

By Sean Bowes

Dog Fence Keeping Your Wires Above Ground

After you have purchased your electric dog fence, you may be wondering about the labor-intensive installation of burying the entire length of your property with 18-gauge wire. For dog owners who prefer an in-ground installation, most manufacturers recommended burying the wires at least 4 inches underground. This method isn't for everyone, though.

Depending on the size of your yard, burying your fence's wires can be a lengthy process. For the quickest and easiest way to install your dog fence, consider a No-Dig method. After you have chosen the layout of your dog fence, complete with “dead-zones” and boundary lines, you can stretch your system's wires across your property lines to make your fence's containment area.

Securing Your Fence's Wires

If you have chosen to use a No-Dig method to install your Electric Dog Fence, you have to develop a way to keep the wires grounded. Rain and heavy winds can move your fence if it's not secure, which can confuse your dog if the wires move and the layout changes. There are two ways to secure your dog's fence without burying it, but you should also be mindful of paths and driveways.

  • Lawn Staples: You can layout the design for your fence the same way you would do for an in-ground system. However, to keep your wires from getting tangled, tripped over or blown around in bad weather, use lawn staples to keep them secure. Simply place the staples over the wires and press down hard until the wire is snug and secure against the ground. Place the staples every few yards, or as necessary in corners or high-traffic areas.
  • Using An Existing Fence: This easily adds a visual aid to the training process for dogs. Electric fences are often used in unison with a physical fence. Electric fences can add another level of protection for dogs that dig, and it can also be used for homeowners who only have fences on one side of their property. Simply attach you system's wires against the fence (neck high on your dog) and run the layout how you see fit. You can use cable ties for chainlink fences and rustproof staples for wooden fences.
  • Driveways: If you have a crack or a joint where the concrete slabs come together on your driveway, you can bury the wire in that groove. Otherwise, you can make your own trench with a concrete grinder. If neither of these options works for you, there are wire covers available at some hardware and pet stores. You can also leave your wire uncovered, too; they can be walked and driven over without affecting functionality, but they can wear down quicker, as well.

If an aboveground dog fence is right for you, be sure to keep a keen eye when doing yard work. Always unplug your system anytime you plan on mowing, edging or weeding near your boundary lines.

By Sean Bowes




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