How Dog Containment Fences Work

Author: Neil Smith   Date Posted:16 April 2018 

Containment Fence Systems

First of all, please note that when we talk about containment fence systems, electric dog fences, hidden dog fences, in-ground radio fences etc, we are effectively talking about the same thing. People often call us asking for a dog fence system but not the 'underground one' when actually, all of our systems can be set up:

  • Underground
  • On the ground (be careful not to mow over it!)
  • On an existing fence attached with zip ties

A quick overview of how these containment fence systems work will make things a lot clearer.


Basic Fence Layout

Thick red line = Containment fence wire & correction zone
Dotted grey line = Warning beep zone


How a Dog Containment Fence Works:

The transmitter box emits a radio signal that is carried by the insulated copper wire. When your dog (wearing the collar) approaches the fence line, the radio signal emitted from the wire activates your dog's receiver collar to deliver a warning beep then a static stimulation if they continue towards the fence line.


3 Essential Components of Every Dog Fence

1. Transmitter Box
The transmitter box emits a radio signal (AM signal or FM signal) 24/7 as well as regulates other settings based on your preferences. The transmitter needs to be set up in your house or garage (somewhere out of the weather) and connected to power.

2. Insulated Copper Wire (Fence wire)
The fence wire plugs into the transmitter at both ends (to make a loop) and emits the radio signal from the wire. The radio signal emitted from the fence wire communicates with your dog's collar as they approach the boundary wire.

3. Receiver Collar
The receiver collar is worn by your dog and receives a warning beep as they approach the fence's warning zone (tone only). If your dog ignores the warning beep and continues towards the fence and the collar will deliver a safe static stimulation to effectively deter your dog from the set boundaries.

Other Bits and Pieces

Most systems will also include training flags, spare probes, wire joiners and test lights etc. but the main components that make the fence work, are the ones above.


Once you've decided you need a dog fence, follow these steps:

Step 1. Plan your containment area. Draw a mud map of your property and plan when you would like to keep your dog contained. Keep in mind that the transmitter needs to be placed in a garage, laundry or shed (anywhere out of the weather). We recommended finding a suitable location that is close to the containment boundary - in doing so, you'll use a smaller length of wire running the wire out to the boundary line.

Many people at this point ask "How does my dog get past the wire that runs out to the boundary?" The simple answer is you twist the wire on itself. When you finish running out your perimeter loop and you're about to run the wire back to the transmitter, twist it with the wire that's running out to the boundary. Twisting the two parts of the wire cancels the signal out and allows your dog to walk over the wire without receiving a static correction.

When considering your wire layout, avoid areas with lots of metal. This can interefere with the radio signal. Electric horse or cattle fences can also interfere with your electric dog fence. Keep the wire approx 1 metre away from any electric fences. Placing the wire on concrete paths or driveways is often a cause for concern as well - we recommend running the wire through expansion joints where possible, alternatively, you can cut a thin groove into the concrete with a grinder. Another option is to run the containment fence through a garden hose.

Step 2. Select the right containment fence system. Here at Bark Control, we stock the highest quality dog fences suitable for dogs of all sizes. In saying that, different fences are suitable for different scenarios. Some factors you need to consider for your containment fence include:

  • The area you need to cover 
  • The receiver collar features (battery replaceable or rechargeable, waterproof, non-waterproof)
  • Sheet metal on your property

Click here to view all fences. 

If you're in doubt, don't hesitate to give us a call on the number at the bottom of the page!

Step 3. Install your containment fence system

  1. Set up your transmitter in the garage, shed or laundry.
  2. Test the transmitter and wire by doing a short loop test to ensure the system works. You can do this by cutting approximately 2 metres of wire and exposing 1.5cm of the copper wire on each of the wire ends (you'll need to strip the plastic coating off the end of the wire). Place the two ends of the exposed wire into the boundary wire terminals found on your transmitter. Turn the fence transmitter on and turn your pet's collar on (you may need to adjust the radio signal distance on the transmitter). Approach the short loop wire. The receiver collar should give a warning tone or vibration. If the receiver collar does this, it means it's working!
  3. Remove the short loop test wire and run the full-length wire from the transmitter around your desired boundary. If you have a larger property, ensure that you have any additional wire as needed and ensure the wire joins are done properly.
  4. Train your dog to react to the static correction as they approach the boundary 


Step 4. Read the manuals and watch the DVDs

Most containment fence systems come with training manuals or DVDs that show you how to teach your dog to react to the new dog fence - be sure to follow them! 

So that's about it really! These systems are very easy to install without professional assistance. You do not need an electrician or another tradesperson. One thing for sure is that dog containment fence systems save lives. Not just your dog's, but farm animals and native wildlife. So if you have an escaping dog and cannot afford to build a structured fence, please consider an electric dog fence. You owe it to your dog. 



If you have any questions, call us on 1300 668 931

We're more than happy to help!