Any dog owners knows that it is important to undergo a whole host of training programs to ensure a calm, considerate and well-behaved pup. It is easy to focus on the basics of obedience and house breaking, but what about boundary issues? Is your dog likely to wander off from the property if left unattended? A good fence around the entire perimeter helps, but isn’t always practical. Some fences ruin the property and upset neighbors. Some dogs will just dig under them anyway.
An electric dog fence could be the answer. This is an invisible system that is either wireless or runs underground. Below are some brief reviews highlighting the best of these dog fence systems in both the in-ground and wireless categories. Before that, let’s look at some important considerations about these hidden fences.
Electric Dog Fence in Underground Models
Let’s start with some of those top dog fence systems that run under the ground. The following models all share some similarities and differences. For a start, they all promise strong, adjustable collars that should help the dog. They also have that adjustable boundary because of the use of wire. However, some of these wires are stronger than others. There is also a difference in the acreage covered and the consistency of the signal. This six reviews cover models with different strength and satisfaction ratings.
1. Electric Dog Fence In Ground SportDOG Brand In-Ground Fence System
This system should be great for larger properties as there is 1000ft of wire and 100 flags. There is also the option to expand this up to an area of 100acres. There is a small issue with the collar here. Users cannot choose between the tone, vibration or static options. Instead, this works as a sequence as the dog approaches the boundary. They hear a noise, then get a vibration, then the static. In the best cases, this means that they should turn back before static is needed. The better behaved the dog, the better the outcome. Still, there isn’t too much room for customization.
On the plus side, there are great users reviews about the short time it took to train the animal. Other benefits with the collar include the waterproof housing and option to expand the system for multiple dogs. Additional helpful features here include the low battery indicator on the collar, the lightining protector on the transmitter and the durable build. It seems that this is an effective product worth all that time and labour of laying the wire.
2. Extreme Dog Fence Second Generation In-Ground Electric Dog Fence
The term second generation here means an updated model with new electronics and a broader range. This was suitable for 10 acres in its previous form, but now this system can reach as far as 25 acres. There is a strong connection from the new digital transmitter to the collars, via three antennas. This is another complete kit with the collar, wire and flags and, once again, is adaptable for multiple collars. Dog owners will also appreciate the waterproofing on the collar. The company claim is can be submerged up to 100ft with no ill effect. This is ideal for large areas of land with lakes and rivers, just in case the collar comes off.
There are also great comments about the battery life, which can be a problem with some collars. However, one of the downsides here seems to be the lack of instructions. There are also comments about a lack of rust proofing on the staples. There is room for improvement in the build, but there is still great potential for training dogs.
3. PetSafe YardMax Rechargeable In-ground Fence
This kit is already quite large as it is, with a long 20 gauge wire that allows for coverage up to a 3rd of an acre. However, there is also the chance to expand the system as far as 10 acres if needed. This adjustable nature is great for those that want to increase a boundary in the future. The downside here is the need for additional wires and flags in separate purchases, as the basic packages isn’t exactly cheap.
Still, many would agree that this model offers good value because of the quality of the receiver collar and the results seen. The collar is adjustable with 5 levels of static and tone. It also adjusts in size from 6 to 26 inches, so should be great for both small and large dogs. Each collar is waterproof to protect the rechargeable battery and receiver – just in case dogs like the idea of playing in the water or rain. The exception to the rule is the use of cheap plastic on the contact points. This small weakness could be a problem with rough handling. No contact point on a dog shock collar means no method of correction.
4. Electric Dog Fence - DOGTEK Underground Pet Containment System
The first thing that stands out with this kit is the complexity of the system. There is a lot in this kit. It all starts with the 500ft of perimeter wire, which users can shape to fit the boundary of the property. This comes with a reliable transmitter, with the option of two adjustable zones, and 50 training flags to help dogs learn their limits.
Then there is the collar, which is fully waterproof with 8 levels of static and a choice of contact points – depending on the length of the dogs coat. A standout feature here is the chance to determine separate warning and correction settings with room for adjustment. This means it can beep from a distance determined by the owner, before any static comes into play. Users that aren’t keen on static will prefer this approach. The problem comes with the battery. The system requires its own, special model that is a little expensive to replace.
5. Sit Boo-Boo Advanced In-Ground Electric Dog Fence System
A big concern for owners is that these devices wont be able to offer the right amount of correction for the situation. There is the risk that the settings are too gentle or erratic and the dogs don’t learn. Here the designers of this fence aim to correct that with an auto-adjusting system that works to each dog’s personality type. Then there is the risk of overcorrection with too much static if the dog stays in place. Here the system know to shut-off after 10 seconds, in case the animals is stuck.
Other benefits include the solid copper wire for 20 acres of land, the waterproofing on the collar and the choice of correction modes. The problem is that this all requires some practice and learning to get the settings right. Essentially, this means training the owner in order to train the dog. As a result, this could lead to mistakes or long processes. It is smart, but not necessarily suited to all users. It certainly seems far too complicated compared to the easy-to-use wireless hidden fences below.
6. Dr.Tiger 2 Collars Electric Dog Fence, Invisible Pet Containment System
There are lots of great promises with this model. The specification talks about the customizable shape and the adjustable collar for large dogs up to 120lbs in weight. This idea of choice continues with the different probes in the box. There are long and short probes for static and an additional plastic set for beeping.
The problem is that this system is erratic and unreliable for many dogs. This shows that not all companies can throw together a dog training fence and expect good results. There is a sense of irresponsibility with poorly made collars and fences. The biggest issues here are the random, accidental shocks and the thinness of the wire. There are some unfortunate breakages as people are laying this wire in the ground. This then compromises the structure of the perimeter. Others didn’t get the charger that comes with it. It is important to include this model in this guide to the best pet containment fences, despite the issue. This is because it highlights the gulf between the clever, effective models above and the ones that are problematic.
Wireless Fences For Dogs
Then there are the wireless invisible pet containment systems with their smaller areas and greater ease of use. Here we want to look at a range of models in one brand, and then compare that with a lesser model. PetSafe are clearly one of the best names to trust when it comes to these wireless dog containment solution. This company specializes in pet safety products, so there is a high expectation of quality. The three electric dog fences here cover different sizes and needs. All have great features and collars. The fourth is a lesser model that showcases the potential issues when choosing a lesser brand.
1. PetSafe Wireless Fence Pet Containment System
The first of these PetSafe models in this section on best wireless fences is a fairly simple set up. There is the transmitter, a few training flags and one collar. A lot of thought has gone into the design and function of that collar. It is adjustable for neck sizes between 6 and 28 inches, it has 5 levels of correction and it is waterproof. There is also the opportunity to use a tone-only training mode and to add more collars as needed.
The system reaches a maximum of 90 feet. This means that it isn’t the widest range, but should be suitable for pet containment in many household. Many like the plug n play nature of this system, as it is pretty easy to set up. However, there are some comments about interference and dead spots that suggest the signal is a little sensitive to obstacles. This is true of all of these wireless fences, but there is the suggestion that this one is particularly so.
2. PetSafe PIF00-12917 Stay & Play Wireless Fence
This Stay & Play model is essentially the next size up from the more basic model above. This one stretches a little further, with coverage up to 105 feet. The collar is pretty similar, with the adjustable strap and correction modes. The difference, however, is that it only adjusts to 23’’ not 28’’. This means that it isn’t as suitable for large dogs.
Again, ease of use and installation is important with this model. The idea is that users can set it up in no more than 2 hours because of the design and lack of labor.
The kit comes with 50 training flags and all the tools needed, there is also a training guide to help ensure the dog isn’t spooked by this new system. This is ideal for users that are new to this concept as it holds their hand a little. Some complain that there is only a 2-year lifespan on the product. Yet, it really shouldn't take that long to teach a dog to use it.
3. PetSafe Pawz Away Indoor Pet Barriers with Adjustable Range
It is worth mentioning this model here too as some may see this as a smaller, cheaper option for small yards. Yes there is a small, portable transmitter and a typical collar, but this really is for indoor use only. This is designed to keep dogs out of certain areas of the home and only extends for 12 feet. For example, dogs that like to dig in the trash can have a collar that stops them going near it. Alternatively, it could stop playful pups going into a baby’s nursery This isn’t really adequate for a yard, not even for those looking to pen dogs into their own space.
The collar is great, however, with the lightweight, auto-shut off and adjustable size. This unit would be a help if paired up with one of the outdoor fences above. The other downside here is talk of a delayed reaction of a few seconds. Smart pets can jump into a restricted area, snatch what they want and potentially leave without correction.
4. Maxtronic Portable Wireless 2 Dog Fence
PetSafe have pretty much conquered the market when it comes to these invisible dog fence systems. They have the range and quality that most pet owners are after. This is even clearer after looking at a model like this portable Maxtronic fence. On paper, there is a lot here to appeal to consumers. There is the promise of a range up to 800ft, a choice of correction modes and the chance to attach two collars to one system.
There are also similarities to the Dr.Tiger model above, in more ways than one. The plus side here is that there is once again a separate set of plastic contact points to provide a tone-only option. The problem is that users have experienced too much inconsistency with the signals. The system can cut out, which has confused many dogs, and the two collars don’t always respond the same way. This could lead to one dog being able to roam a little further than the other. There are too many fears from users to recommend this for training purposes.
Which Type of a Fence System Do You Want For The Property?
The first consideration to make when choosing an invisible pet containment system is whether it should be an in-ground or wireless fence. There are pros and cons to both. In-ground electric dog fences are popular because it is easy to create a perimeter to match the shape of the property. Users just lay the wire where it is needed and create a secure space. These systems tend to have a long range, with a strong, waterproof dog shock collar. The downside is that this is very labor intensive and costly. Those that choose this option need to work hard with the training to make sure it was a worthwhile purchase.
The opposite is true for the wireless in-ground dog fences. Here user love the ease of use and lack of effort. Most are operational in a couple of hours with no hard labor. The complete kits are also great for training dog, thanks to the adjustable collars, training flags and other tools. The problem is the circular boundary formed by the radius of the transmitter. This doesn’t always fill the space of the yard. The ranges are also shorter with these wireless systems.
Choosing the Right mode of correction when using a hidden fence
Dogs learn the boundaries of the home via correction. Stray too close to the perimeter and they receive some form of warning. There are different options available on the best dog training collars. Some offer a static shock. This is typically mild enough not to do any harm, but some dog owners don’t like the approach at all. Variable levels and intensities help. Other systems offer vibrations and noises instead. There are also some devices that have a warning mode before the correction. The collar will beep at one distance, than use static if the dog ignores the beep. This is a nice compromise for many owners.
It is important to watch out for potential interference in the signal. Many of the best systems for invisible dog fences have a system that connects a transmitter to the collar. This means that there is a clear, consistent warning when animals stray too far. The problem with this approach is that metal objects – such as cars and roofs – can interfere with the signal.
Other important considerations with those collars
Then you need to consider how many collars you need. Some systems come with a single collar. Others have either the option to add-on another with a second purchase, or offer a set of them. If you have one animal, in one property, a single collar should suffice. Those with multiple dogs may need a shared system when moving to a new property. On the subject of different collars for different dogs, it helps to find products that are adjustable for different breeds. This also means a choice of contact points for both long and shorted haired animals.
Durability is also important here
The best training fences shouldn’t take that long to achieve results. An effective, consistent collar and the right approach should teach dogs pretty quickly. Still, the last thing that users want is a system that breaks down within a couple of months. The first consideration here is the quality of the wire. The higher the gauge, the longer it should last. Then there is the collar. Waterproof, dust proof housings and strong builds should ensure that they last a while. Beware of weak plastic contact points. Finally, there is the battery life on the collar. If it rechargeable and, if not, how easy is it to replace.
Finally, be careful when reading user reviews for electric dog fences online
User reviews are often a great place to learn more about the product and how it really works. Some provide a great account of the training and behaviour of their pet. Others talk about smaller pros and cons that you might not have considered. However, be aware of those that offer low scores simply because it didn’t work for their dog. Remember that the best results come with careful training and planning. You can’t just put a collar on a dog, switch on the fence and expect miracles. Also, some offer low marks because they struggled to lay the wire in their ground. This is more of a reflection on their property than the product.