Dog Fence Installing the Transmitter/Control Box

As you may know, the transmitter AKA the Control Box of your Electric Fence operates in the same way the computer does in your car. Without it, all of the parts of your vehicle will not function. A transmitter/control box is the brain of your system and it needs to be installed correctly to operate.

A transmitter works by controlling the fence's boundary lines and it controls the strength of the stimulation. Additionally, the transmitter will also tell you if the fence is operational and if there is a break in the signal from the wires.

Furthermore, the transmitter on some system can control the sensitivity from the collars to the boundary wire simply by twisting a knob.

One of the most essential steps for properly installing a transmitter box is finding a permanent location to store it. The location for the box should be easy to reach. Below are some good tips on finding the perfect spot for the transmitter:

  • Be sure to choose an area that has a reliable, working outlet. It should be 120volt.
  • Check that your outlet is not outdoors. Your transmitter needs to be kept in a dry, cool place. Most transmitters are freeze-proof, but they cannot get wet. Sheds, garages and carports are generally OK.
  • Find a suitable wall to mount your transmitter box. Find out if the wall is concrete, drywall or stucco and buy the right type of drill bits and anchor mounts.
  • Consider a surge protector. Many states have regular lightning strikes, so expensive electronics should be protected with a surge protector. Even an inexpensive one can save your electric fence if lightning strikes your home.

Mounting Your Control Box

As you could probably tell when you took the transmitter box out of the packaging, these units are not heavy. So, finding a stud or drilling into concrete is not necessary to mount your box. Most units come with supplied mounting screws, so find an area close your 120volt outlet and mount your transmitter near it. Be sure to anchor your screws, especially if you're mounting in drywall.

When using anchors for your screws, simply mark the spots you wish to mount the box with a pencil. When you have your spots marked, use an appropriate bit to drill a hole. Be sure that the drill bit is a little bit smaller than your screw. Now, once you have your hole drilled, use a mallet to hammer your plastic anchors into the wall, then you can put your screws in and mount the box.

Bringing Your Fence's Wires Outside

For a transmitter to function properly, it needs to be connected to your fence's outdoor wires. Whether you have chosen to install your transmitter in a garage, shed or carport, you need to think of you will get your fence wires to your yard.

A window, dog door or vents are suitable solutions to run the fence's wires outside. However, if you do not have any of these, you will need to make your own hole. Using a drill, you can make small whole to get your boundary wires outside. To protect your wires (and your home from critters) use an exterior caulk sealant or a duct seal to run around the drilled hole. You don't need to be concerned about twisting the wires, simply run them through the space, connect and test your system to make sure it works.

By Sean Bowes


Dog Fence Installing Around Paths & Driveways

Once you have chosen a clean layout and design to lay your wire and tested your control box, you may be left scratching your head for the next step. Of course you know that the best way to install the fence's wires is to bury it 4-inches under the ground, but what are you supposed to do about driveway and pathways? Most properties have some sort of stone or concrete pathway, so you need to consider them when you start to install your fence. Luckily, there are three options for homeowners to tackle this hurdle and all of them can be done at home without ever calling the handyman.

Using An Existing Slot or Crack

Most sidewalks and pathways are made from big concrete slabs that come together at a small joint or slot. If you're lucky, your driveway may have these slots, too. This is the easiest ways to install a wire (and also the most popular). The only tools needed are caulk, a caulk gun and a screwdriver.

  1. First: locate which joint or crack you're going to use to run the wire. Make sure that this trench runs from one side of your drive or pathway to the other.
  2. Now, it's time to clean out all the soil, debris and loose sand from the crack. Use a screwdriver to make the trench as deep as possible. You can also rinse it out with a hose or pressure washer to make sure there is enough room to run the wire.
  3. Lay the wire in the crack. Make sure you press it down as far as you can. A dull flathead screwdriver is ideal for this.
  4. Finally, after you have secured the wire deep in the trench and you are ready to continue burying the wire in your yard, you can run a layer of caulk over the crack. Electric fence wires can be covered with caulk with no problem, but be sure to use a waterproof brand so that it lasts for years.

Creating a Slot

Unfortunately, there isn't always a slot in your driveway, so you need to make your own. Don't worry, a jackhammer isn't necessary, but you will need the use of a power tool. Circular saws and angle grinders are cheap and easy ways to cut a channel for your wire. Tools Needed: Circular Saw or Grinder, Caulk, Caulk Gun, chalk and extra blades for your power tool.

  1. First, find and mark the location to cut your slot. Draw a straight line with chalk where you intend to make the cut.
  2. Make the cut. If you don't have a steady hand, maybe a handy neighbor will give you some help. When you're cutting, don't worry about making it too deep; all you need is enough room for the wire and a bit of caulk. Be sure that you have bought extra masonry or stone blades for your tool incase it gets too dull. Also, wear safety glasses anytime you use power tools.
  3. Clean out the trench. One you have made the cut, use a hose or screwdriver to clean out the trench.
  4. Now, you can follow steps Three and Four from Using and Existing Slot or Crack to finish the job.

Tunneling Under The Pathway

For some homeowners (or renters), cutting through concrete is not an option. If you have a small stone or concrete slabs that make up your pathway, simply lift it up and place the wire underneath. If you are dealing with a bigger obstacle, then you have some work cut out for you. Purchase a small–diameter PVC pipe that is long enough to reach both sides of your pathway.

  1. Know what is below the surface of your property before you dig: call 8-1-1 to find all underground utility wires and pipes.
  2. Use a hacksaw or a grinder to create a sharp point at one end of the PVC. This should look similar to a shovel or blade.
  3. Clear out the section under the pathway you want to put the wire.
  4. Use the sharp end of the PVC to bore a path for your wire. Twist, and dig as much as you can. Keep emptying to old soil from the inside of your PVC pipe. This is slow work. Do six inches at a time.
  5. After you have the PVC on both ends of your pathway, run the wire under your PVC pipe and bury it on both sides.
By Sean Bowes

Dog Fence The Final Step - Testing

For most homeowners, the installation of an electric dog fence can be completed as a weekend project. However, it's important that they don't skip over any steps. It may seem disheartening having to test out the system before letting your dog out in the backyard to try out the new fence, but it is a vital part of the installation.

Connecting and testing you dog containment system is the last step of the installation. First, make sure that you have picked a good working outlet for your transmitter/control box. If you have power, and connected your fence's wires to the control box you should have a green light when you plug it in.

If your transmitter box is throwing an error code or a Red Light, don't be alarmed. The majority of the time when you first test your system, an error (red light) will be triggered by a short in the electrical current of your wires. What this is means is that you have either A.) Not connected the wires properly to the control box or B.) Incorrectly spliced/joined one of the sections of wire.

If you have a Red Light, be sure to double check the connection to your transmitter box. If you still have a Red Light, trace the wires back and check to see how you spliced the wire. It should nice and tight at the joint.

Placing Your Boundary Flags

The last job before you can kick up your feet is placing the boundary flags. Every system should come a few dozen flags to place around the "live" sections of your fence. So, you should take time to mark each area that is not a "dead-zone" on your boundary lines.

First, adjust the boundary line on your transmitter so that it triggers at a width of three feet to either side of your wire. The reason you want a wider stimulation zone is that a narrower boundary zone makes it's harder to train dogs, especially ones that have never used an electric fence.

You should have placed the boundary flags parallel to the live wires. With your system turned on with a Green Light, turn on your receiving collar. Your system may have included a test light that can be placed along the probes of the collar. With the collar on, the test light should flash when you come along the boundary line. Adjust your transmitter so that the collar lights up (or buzzes or beeps if you don't have a test light) when you come within three feet of the wire.

As a rule of thumb, for your dog to notice the boundary flags and associate it the stimulation of the border line zone, you should place the flags every five or six feet. For driveways and stone paths, you can lay some flags on the ground when you are first starting training.

By Sean Bowes

Dog Fence How To Fix a Shorted or Broken Wire

For the most part, electric dog fences require hardly any maintenance. If you install it correctly and keep your receiving collar charged and cleaned, you will find that the system will work reliably for years. Unfortunately, the 18-gauge wire on popular systems is not indestructible and can occasionally need repair.

Wires on the dog fence can break from lawn mowers, shovels or rodents that have chewed through unburied sections of wire. Luckily, the repair for the fences is cheap and easy to fix.

Finding The Problem

Since the boundary lines for many Electric Fences can be in high traffic areas or along driveways, fence owners should try to find the break in the line visually first. If you see any spots on the wire that are damages, you may have found your culprit.

You should also take the time to make sure your connections are secure to the transmitter/control box. Additionally, any place where have spliced the wire and made a joint is another common problem area for some dog fences.

Tools To Find a Break in the Wire

Checking every bit of wire can be a pain in the back... literally. If you have a fence that is buried underground, it can be a time staking process pulling every inch out to inspect it for breaks. To make things easier, a Line Break Detector should be used. PetSafe created the RFA-450 to find broken/dead spots in Dog Fence systems.

Simply swap the RFA-450 out with your regular transmitter. Then you'll walk the outline of your fence. Sound tones will help you find the broken wiring. After the Line Break Detector finds the problem, it's time to repair the wire.

Fixing a Broken Section of Wire

If you have ever installed a CD Player in car, then you have already had a lot of practice of stripping and connecting wires. When you find a broken 18-gauge wire in your dog fence, the idea is the same. You want to cut the wire and use a Wire Stripper to a half-inch of insulation from each side.

Once you can see the copper with the insulation off, twist the two sides together firmly and attach them with a waterproof wingnut or crimp them together. You can also solder the two sides if you're very handy.

For wires that have a large damaged section, you should cut the entire damaged section out and put a 18-gauge wire "bridge" in between the two wires. Cut, strip and attach the two sides with your fresh bridge. Now, you should have a working system. Plug in your transmitter box and wait to see the green light.

By Sean Bowes

Table of Contents