How Dog Containment Systems (aka Electric Dog Fences) Actually Work

Author: Neil Smith   Date Posted:20 February 2012 

Electric Dog Fencing: How Dog Containment Systems Work
 

First of all, be aware when we talk about containment systems, electric dog fences, hidden dog fences, in-ground radio fences etc etc...We are effectively talking about the same thing.  Often people call asking for a dog fence system, but not the underground one.  However all these systems can go underground, on the ground (be sure not to mow over it!!)or above ground on an existing fence.  A quick overview of how these containment systems actually work will make things a lot clearer!! 
 

All hidden dog fences come with these 3 basic components:
 

1.       A Transmitter Box.  The transmitter box emits a radio signal (am or fm) as well as regulating other settings based on your preferences.

2.       Insulated Copper Wire.  Comes in various lengths depending on the system.  Plugs into the transmitter at both ends (to make a loop) and carries the radio signal around your specified containment area.

3.       A Receiver Collar.  Worn by the dog and emits a static correction when the radio signal is received by the collar.  How far from the wire is set by you.

Now, most systems will come with other bits and pieces including training flags, spare probes, wire joiners, testing lights etc.  However to make your containment system work these three are the main components. 

Once you have decided you need a dog fence.  We suggest you follow these steps:

STEP 1.  Plan Your Containment Area.  Draw a mud map of your property and plan where you would like to keep your dog contained.  Your transmitter box is plugged into a 240 volt power source so it will need to be kept out of the weather.  A shed, laundry or garages are fairly common places.  Try to find a suitable location that is close to the containment boundary as you will save on wire getting out to the boundary. 
 

Many people at this point often ask, “How does my dog get past the wire going out to the boundary when it is running around the yard?”  The simple answer is, when you twist the wire on itself you block the signal.  So when you finish your perimeter loop and are heading back to the transmitter box, twist the wire around the wire going out.  This blocks the signal!  This also allows you to come in off the boundary and contain a chook pen in the middle of the yard for example.
 

When consider your wire layout try to avoid areas with lots of metal.  This can interfere with the radio signal.  Electric horse or cattle fences can also interfere with your electric dog fence.  Try and keep the wire approx 1 metre from any electric fence.  Crossing driveways or concrete paths is often a cause for concern as well.  Try running the wire through expansion joints where possible or alternatively cutting a thin groove into the concrete with a concrete cutting wheel on a grinder.  Alternatively some people have run the containment wire through a garden hose.   
 

STEP 2.  Select the Right Containment System.  There are different types of dog fences that are more suitable for certain dog types and breeds as well as systems suited to larger areas.  Rechargeable collars vs. Battery collars and waterproof vs. non waterproof are other factors that need to be considered in when choosing a dog fence.  We strongly suggest to ring Bark Control Australia if you unsure in any way about the right system for you.
 

STEP 3.  Install your containment system.  Firstly mount your transmitter at your chosen location.  A good idea is to then make a test loop to ensure the transmitter and receiver collars are working properly.  Cut a length of wire, approx 2 metres in length and strip approx. 1.5cm of the plastic coating from the wire at either end place either end into the wire terminals.  If applicable turn on your collar and approach the loop wire.  The collar should give a warning tone or vibration once reaching the set field width.   You will then know your dog fencing system is working!!  Obviously, if you think you are going to be close to running short on wire, perhaps give the testing process a miss.  You may need those two metres of wire!!
 

You can now go about installing the wire to complete your electric dog fence.  If you have a larger property that requires extra wire, an important factor is to ensure you join your wire as directed.  Most dog containment systems include splices that contain a gel substance to ensure the copper wire does not corrode at any joins.  Corroded, exposed wire is the number one reason why dog fences can be working one day and not the next.  Make sure you do your joins properly!!
 

Once you have followed these simple directions in conjunction with your installation manual, you are about ready to start using your dog containment system.  There may be several knobs and controls to tweak depending on the system, but you are essentially ready to start the training process!
 

STEP 4.  All hidden 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!  This is where your flags are used.  I will right a separate article on this topic as is very important!!
 

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

As always please contact Bark Control Australia if you are unsure about any aspect of dog containment.  Our expert staff are only a phone call away!!