Will a Wireless Fence Work on My Property?

Wireless fences keep pets from straying into the street
Few innovations in the pet world have saved more dog's lives than invisible fences, and they remain one of the most highly recommended 'pet essentials' by professional trainers and pet owners alike.

Over the past decade leaps in technology have ushered in the development of wireless pet fences. The ease of installation and portability of wireless fences made them extremely popular with dog owners, but it is important to point out that wireless systems are not ideal under certain circumstances.

Anyone considering a wireless pet fence should definitely read this feature before committing to a wireless system to reduce the risk of ending up with a costly white elephant.

A Round Peg in a Square Hole

Wireless systems only cover a circular area; they can't get to a property's corners
Wireless fences can only create circular safe zones because the central transmitter broadcasts in all directions simultaneously. With most properties being rectangular, this means that a wireless fence will not cover the corners and therefore your dogs will not be able to roam your entire property. This is less of a concern for people with larger more rural properties, but for towns dwellers it can limit the fence's effective area somewhat.

Continuous Coverage
Because the wireless fence works via a transmitted signal, it therefore covers every inch of ground within the set boundary. This is fine providing you don't mind where your dog goes within the boundary, but it does mean you can't set up exclusion zones such as around swimming pools or decorative flower beds.

Interference from Metal Structures and the Weather

Electrical storms can interfere with a wireless fence's signal
Wireless fences use radio waves, which makes them susceptible to interference from metal objects. A house with aluminum siding or a metal roof will likely play havoc with a wireless fence, as will any freestanding structures such as metal sheds. Even old metal septic tanks and chain-link fencing have been known to mess with those delicate radio waves. Similarly electrical storms can easily interfere with the signal - if you've ever tried to watch TV through a dish in a thunderstorm you'll know all about this.

In addition to interference from metal, some solid structures can also disrupt the transmitter's signal (like the poor reception you sometimes experience with your cellphone in a big building). Dense wooded areas have also been cited as a potential problem with wireless systems.

Size Really Does Matter

Wireless fences have a limited range
Wireless fences have a limited range of coverage. Regular wireless systems can cover a maximum area of about 200-feet in diameter and WiFi systems are capable of covering about a 400-foot diameter area. This is more than sufficient for urban properties, but will severely limit a dog's play area in larger rural environments.

Flat is Best
Wireless fences need relatively flat terrain between the transmitter and receiver collar to ensure the signal gets cleanly from A to B. Larger properties with hills and ditches or valleys may not allow the wireless fence to operate property.

Is a Wireless Fence Right for Your Property?
Don't let all this make you think that wireless fences are useless wastes of money. Thousands of dog owners and their dogs love wireless fences and swear by them, but they don't have any of the issues that can cause these problems.

However, if you think your property checks a few of the boxes for potential problems, a wireless fence just might not be suitable for you. However, it's better to find that out now than to find it out once you've spent a chunk of change on a system that won't work well.

By John Bone
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