You’ve brought Fido home and you’re ready to begin building lasting memories with your best friend. You’re ready to play fetch and watch him romp around the yard with his favorite toys. You’ve envisioned him chasing squirrels, sniffing every square inch of grass, and enjoying a nice lazy day in the sunshine. But if your yard isn’t fenced, how will you keep him safe? If you’re looking for peace of mind of knowing your dog is safe and secure in your yard, and you don’t want to go through all the expense and hassle of installing an actual fence, here are a few of the best options for invisible dog fences.
Why Choose an Invisible Dog Fence?
Invisible dog fences are economical. For us, it was a much cheaper option than surrounding our entire yard with any kind of actual fence. It was cheaper, not only in terms of installation but also long-run in terms of maintenance.
Our municipality also has restrictions on installing privacy fences, which further complicated the issue of installing an actual fence. If you are unaware if your neighborhood or municipality has any restrictions about the kind of fence you can install, find out ahead of time! We know people who have installed privacy fences and have then had to rip out entire sections after-the-fact to meet local government guidelines. An invisible fence completely eliminates the worry of any of these complications.
Another thing invisible fences offer is peace of mind. Even if you don’t have a dog with a strong tendency to wander or escape, there is peace of mind knowing your dog is staying within the confines of your property and not running the streets getting hit by a car or being carted off to the pound by a well-meaning neighbor who is unfamiliar with where your dog lives.
Invisible fences are great for athletic dogs who may pose a jumping risk. With an invisible fence, you don’t have to worry about how high your fence is, because, at any height, the barrier is the same. We have a picnic table near the side-street portion of our property that is also bordered by a 4-foot aluminum fence. The height of the table is nearly as high as the top of the actual fence and is set back only 4 feet or so. We have a very athletic Staffy, who could easily vault this obstacle. But he has no inclination to, because although there is nothing more exciting than the people and dogs walking by (literally, Nothing… More… Exciting), he doesn’t want to get too close and hear those three warning beeps of the invisible fence. I have a neighbor who is always commenting on the panic she feels every time she sees him people-watching on the picnic table because she worries he will jump the fence and get hit by a car. There is nothing I can say to put her mind at rest about it, but I DO have peace of mind because I know my dog respects the mysterious power of the invisible fence.
Even if you have a super aggressive dog and you want to keep him back from your actual fence-line, an invisible fence is a powerful tool. The invisible fence gives you control over the distance your dog stays back from an actual fence or property line. If you have a dog that is constantly trying to dig under a fence and cause trouble for neighbors or people passing by, adding an invisible fence can be a quick and effective solution.
Important Things to Consider
Invisible Fences are not suitable for miniature dogs. Almost all systems require that your dog be at least 8 or 10 pounds, so if your dog is smaller than this you’ll need to look for another option.
Keep the collar on every time your dog goes outside. Even though your dog has learned the boundaries and always stays back from the edge when she is out in the yard, trust me when I tell you, your dog knows when the collar is on and when it is not. If you think it’s ok this one time to let her out without the collar on, be prepared to give chase.
Make sure you take the collar off at night or when your dog is inside to give their neck a break from the contact points.
Two Kinds of Invisible Fences: In-Ground and Wireless
The very best thing about wireless fences is that they are portable. If you find yourself moving frequently for your job, or you want to take it with you camping or traveling, this may be the way to go. They are also very easy to set up.
Unfortunately, the ease of installation doesn’t outweigh the cons of the wireless set. Wireless electric fences only give you a circular boundary. You set the radius that you want your dog to stay within. They can’t be customized for the shape of your yard, or keep your dog out of specific areas of your yard like a water feature or a vegetable garden. The radio signal is not as stable as the in-ground fence because the signal can be interrupted by obstacles such as trees, bushes, or hills, or even appliances inside your house if they lie between the transmitter and the yard. These systems typically have a transmitter inside your house that sends radio waves to the dog’s collar (receiver).
The in-ground fence can be customized to the shape of your yard by setting an underground perimeter wire exactly where you want the boundary to be. You can get a larger coverage area and a much more stable signal. Essentially, it works unless the power goes out or the line is broken. And you can use this system with as many dogs as you have compatible collars for. Since the signal is transmitted through the wire, you could have a different dog on two different sides of the yard, and the system will correct whichever one is attempting to cross the boundary.
On the downside, the in-ground system takes longer to install. If you just don’t have the physical resources to dig the wire into the ground, consider renting a fence trencher to make installation easier. You could also opt to use lawn staples to hold the wire in place, but know that it won’t be securely in-ground and will be more susceptible to breakage from a weed-wacker, etc. Where the wire for our invisible fence runs along bushes that border our property line, the wire is simply held in place with lawn staples because the wire is concealed by the bushes and no one is going to be disturbing the ground in those areas anyway. These systems generally include the transmitter which is plugged into an outlet in your house or garage, the wire, and the receiver (dog collar).
Video on In-Ground Fence Installation (2:12 minutes)
The Best Invisible Dog Fence
- 1/2 ACRE OF CIRCULAR COVERAGE: The adjustable circular range can cover up to 1/2 acres from the placement of the portable indoor transmitter
- NO WIRE TO BURY: A wireless boundary allows you to create a secure barrier around your yard to protect your pets without the time or hassle of burying wires
- STATIC-FREE REENTRY: Unlike traditional in-ground fences, this wireless fence allows your pet to return home without being corrected if your pet passes the boundary
- SIMPLE SET-UP: Sets up in just a few hours; This portable system is terrific for camping and vacation homes
- WATERPROOF COLLAR: The waterproof collar comfortably fits dogs 8 pounds and up and adjusts to fit neck sizes 6-28 inches; Compatible with all PetSafe Wireless Fence transmitters
This system covers up to 1/2 acre (90 feet in all directions from the indoor transmitter, or 180 feet in diameter). It includes a waterproof receiver collar with a low-battery indicator, 5 levels of static correction, and tone-only mode for training. The collar battery lasts roughly 30 days, and the RFA-67 battery can be purchased in a 2-pack for about $7. The collar fits dogs 8 pounds or larger, and the collar is adjustable from 6 to 28 inches. You can use the system for more than one dog by simply purchasing an extra collar. Beware of “dead spots” in the boundary line when installing and check to make sure there are no obstructions to the signal when your setting it up.
Video on PetSafe Wireless Pet Containment System (3:47 minutes)
- Easy-to-install containment kit includes everything needed to cover 1 1/3 acres of land for one dog; can be expanded to cover 100 acres with more wire and flags (sdf-wf)
- Waterproof collar takes standard 9-volt battery (included) that lasts 6-12 months; Fits dogs 10 pound And up
- Contain an unlimited number of dogs with additional collars (sdf-r)
- Collar gives Tone (beep) and vibration (Buzz) warning before moving to one of four static stimulation levels (you choose the best level for your dog)
- Transmitter features wire break alarm and built in Lightning Protector
This system offers the possibility of one of the largest coverage ranges available as it is expandable up to 100 acres. The system itself comes with 1000 feet of 20-gauge boundary wire and 100 flags, double the amount of most standard in-ground fence systems. This will cover roughly 1.3 acres. Additional wire and flags to expand the system must be purchased separately. The waterproof receiver collar comes with a low-battery indicator, 4 levels of static correction, as well as tone and vibration warning before the static correction is delivered, and short and long contact points to accommodate both short- and long-haired dogs. It also has an anti-linger feature that prevents your dog from draining the battery by hanging out in the warning zone. The 9-volt receiver battery (just a regular 9-volt battery) lasts from 6-12 months depending on how often your dog requires correction. The collar fits dogs larger than 10 pounds and is adjustable from 13 to 25 inches. The transmitter includes a lightning/power surge protector and a wire break alarm to let you know if there has been a break or cut in the wire. Based on our experience, this is an important feature! Without the wire break alarm, you won’t know if your system is down due to a break and nothing is stopping your dog from walking right through the boundary. This system can also work for more than one dog with the purchase of an additional collar.
- Improved: The 2nd Generation eXtreme Dog Fence STANDARD GRADE Kit Covers Up to 6 Acres. The Updated Electronics are Designed for Compatibility with New Collar Options. 3 Antennas, 12x Battery Check, +More
- Waterproof and Submersible: Most Other Inground Dog Fence Systems Claim to be "Water Resistant". The eXtreme Dog Fence Includes a Collar Receiver that is COMPLETELY Waterproof, and Can be Submerged up to 10' Deep. Your Dog Can Swim with the Collar on and Won't Affect it's Functionality
- Standard Fence Kit Includes: 20 Gauge High Tensile Boundary Wire with Heavy Protective Jacket, Digital Transmitter, Collar Receiver(s) w/ Battery, Training Flags and Splice Kits
- Guarantee: This Underground Dog Fence Includes a 1 Year Warranty. When You Register Your Fence, Your Warranty eXtends to 5 Years. This Fence WILL Contain Your Dog and has Been Manufactured for More than 25 Years and Carries a Stellar Reputation for Reliability and Performance
- U.S.A. : These Electric Fences for Dogs Are Proudly Manufactured in the Good Old United States of America. We are Standing By to Provide You Top Level Assistance and Support in Setting Up Your Fence, Training Your Dogs and Puppies, or Troubleshooting Any Issue that Comes Up
The standard grade kit includes 500 feet of 20-gauge boundary wire and 50 training flags, which can contain a dog up to 1/2 acre. The wire is also coated in a thicker jacket than most 20 gauge fence wires. Purchase of additional wire can expand the receiver’s capability up to 25 acres. The waterproof receiver, submergible up to 10 feet, is one of the smallest and lightest available. The collar features a low battery indicator, tone-only option for training, and 7 different levels of correct (levels 6 & 7 are a progressive correction, where the correction increases as the dog moves toward the boundary line). The collar comes with two sets of contact points (medium comfort-contacts and long), accommodates dogs 8 pounds and larger, and is adjustable from 6 to 26 inches. Please note that the receiver’s proprietary Perimeter Technologies 6-volt battery lasts approximately 2-4 months and costs $10 to replace. This system works for more than one dog with the purchase of an additional collar. Their transmitter also gives you the option of using different frequencies to prevent possible interference from neighboring invisible fences.
As an upgrade, you can purchase the more expensive Pro kit which comes with 500 feet of a higher (stronger) 14-gauge boundary wire, plus 50 feet of 16-gauge twisted wire (already twisted for you) and 10 lawn staples for securing wire you won’t be putting underground. The Pro kit also includes a surge protector for the transmitter.
- MAXIMIZE YOUR YARD SPACE: In YardMax mode, your pet will have more room than traditional in-ground fences by receiving correction right at the boundary wire instead of before
- 1/3 ACRE COVERAGE: 500 ft of included wire lets you contain up to 1/3-acre yard; purchase additional wire to contain up to 10-acres
- FITS MOST YARDS: This do-it-yourself weekend project lets you create an in-ground fence designed to fit your yard
- 5 LEVELS OF STATIC CORRECTION: 5 levels of adjustable static correction and a tone-only mode help keep your dog safe and secure inside their safe play area
- STATIC-FREE REENTRY: Allows your pet to return home without being corrected if your pet passes the boundary
This system includes 500 feet of 20-gauge boundary wire and 50 training flags, giving you about 1/3 acre of containment (expandable up to 10 acres with the purchase of additional wire). The waterproof receiver contains a rechargeable lithium battery that takes approximately 2-3 hours to charge, and each charge can last up to three weeks. Please note that this battery typically lasts 3-5 years, and when you need to replace it, you will have to replace the receiver collar, which runs about $150. The receiver comes with a tone warning as your dog approaches the boundary and 5 levels of static correction. The receiver works for dogs 5 pounds and larger is adjustable from 6 to 28 inches and comes with both short and long contact points. The transmitter has an indicator light to let you know if a wire is broken or disconnected, as well as surge protection.
What is really unique about this system is that it is compatible with PetSafe’s indoor pet-proofing barrier system (Pawz Away), allowing you to also keep your dogs out of specific areas inside your home like the couch, kitchen, or trash can.
- SECURE A 1/3 ACRE YARD: Create a safe 1/3-acre play area for your best friend with the included 500 feet of wire; Purchase additional wire to fence in up to 5 acres
- 4 LEVELS OF CORRECTION: A tone-only mode plus 4 levels of adjustable static correction help keep your dog safe in his play area
- DIY INSTALLATION: This do-it-yourself weekend project lets you create a fence that fits your yard’s shape and size
- COLLAR FIT: The Deluxe UltraLight In-Ground Fence Receiver Collar is waterproof and comfortably fits dogs 8 pounds and up and adjusts to fit neck sizes 6-26 inch; For dogs 6 months and older
- PROTECT ALL YOUR PETS: If you have more than 1 pet purchase as many collars as you need so every furry friend can safely play in their yard
If you just want a simple system to keep your pet from wandering at an affordable price, this is the system for you. The Basic kit includes 500 feet of 20 gauge boundary wire and 50 flags, covering 1/3 acre (expandable up to 5 acres with the purchase of additional wire and flags). The receiver comes with a warning beep and 4 levels of static correction. It is suitable for dogs 8 pounds and larger, is adjustable from 6 to 28 inches, and comes with both short and long contact points. The receiver’s RFA-67 battery lasts 1-3 months and you can purchase a 2-pack of these for $7. The Basic system is also good for more than one dog with the purchase of an additional receiver collar.
Invisible dog fences are an invaluable safety tool for owners. Please remember that getting the invisible fence properly installed is just the first step. They key to success is through proper training, and it is suggested that this training usually takes about two weeks.