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Franz

Electronic dog fences

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Franz

I'm looking into electronic dog fences for two smaller dogs. I would like to hear your recommendations on wired (in ground) vs wireless for an acre or so of coverage. What kind is better?

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topdog1961

The wireless ones don't have many advantages. They are easy, but how often is something easier better?  The receivers are much bigger than wired ones, not good for small dogs. But the worst part is they don't consistently correct in the same spot. They operate 180 degrees different from the wired ones. The natural state of a wired receiver is to do nothing. They only fire in the presence of the signal. And with modern transmitters that signal is very precise and only a few feet from the wire. Your dog will wear a path at the perimeter because it trusts the system. 

 

The wireless one's natural state is to correct your dog. They depend on the presence of the signal to PREVENT it from firing. That signal is up to 90 feet away and is not precise. Sometimes it shocks here, sometimes back there. And if something blocks that signal, like a car that wasn't there yesterday, watch out. And many will shock your dog if the power goes out. Even when they are working the signal area is a circle. Is your yard a circle?

 

Some will say they love their wireless system. Some dogs tolerate the inconsistency well, others are terrorized. I've professionally installed wired systems and trained dogs on them for 15 years. I take a lot of the wireless systems in trade because of the bad results. I don't have any now but have sold them on eBay. I had one customer who's Lab was so terrified of the wireless fence it wouldn't go outside to use the bathroom anymore. With my wired system and training, it was soon happy again. I use their reference letter for prospects considering a wireless alternative. 

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Clueless1

I will say that I went to Petsmart and bought a $400 wireless unit.  As I was looking into it I thought it was great.  It was a circle, but I thought I could get it set so that the circle would be in an area I wanted. 

It was a disaster.  No matter where I put it, something interfered with the signal.  It was very inconsistent.  As I walked with the 'tester' I had a certain area marked out.  Within an hour that area was not available to my dogs.  For some reason it even shocked the dogs in the house, after I had set it for a 60' circle or something like that.  The poor dogs didn't know what to do.  The younger one sat in one spot panting and wouldn't move.  Took days to get them to even roam the house again.

 

I don't know what the professional units are like, but I installed a Petsafe wired fence shortly after that and very happy with it. 

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erik meade

I would advise buying good wire - better wire than what comes with the cheap transmitter.  I used to know what type of wire to look for , but I forgot.  I have had good luck with the cheap transmitters.  But lightning will get them. So maybe that isn’t good luck? They are cheap to replace.

 

 

also, you have to think of it as a training aid rather than a “fence.”  If you do not have the time to go through the training process, then I would recommend paying  the money to  professional who knows how to train to the “fence.”   If you go through the training the dog will likely learn quickly and easily.  If you just throw the dogs out and hope for the best...  then good luck...  it might work, ... or not.

 

 

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topdog1961
14 hours ago, erik meade said:

I would advise buying good wire - better wire than what comes with the cheap transmitter.  I used to know what type of wire to look for , but I forgot.  I have had good luck with the cheap transmitters.  But lightning will get them. So maybe that isn’t good luck? They are cheap to replace.

 

 

also, you have to think of it as a training aid rather than a “fence.”  If you do not have the time to go through the training process, then I would recommend paying  the money to  professional who knows how to train to the “fence.”   If you go through the training the dog will likely learn quickly and easily.  If you just throw the dogs out and hope for the best...  then good luck...  it might work, ... or not.

 

 

 

All good advice. Buy solid core polyethylene coated direct burial wire. 18 gauge with a 30mil coating will last a lifetime. The coating is more important than wire size. DON'T go to Lowe's etc and buy their 14 gauge stranded THHN coated wire. They will tell you it's "heavy duty" and works good for efences but it's not direct burial rated.  Buy the optional lightning/ surge suppressor designed for these fences. They are about $25 and make your transmitter about 10x more rugged. 

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erik meade
19 minutes ago, topdog1961 said:

 Buy the optional lightning/ surge suppressor designed for these fences. They are about $25 and make your transmitter about 10x more rugged. 


Do they protect from the fence side or the utility side?  If I would have bought one it would have easily paid for itself, so that is good advice that I think I will take (probably, though, knowing me I will not think about it until after another unit bites the dust.... )

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topdog1961

They protect from both. The Petsafe unit is $20 at chewy.com. It is far better than no protection. But the best units are made by Panamax and are $50 on eBay. I've see a huge oak tree split in half by lightning and the wire vaporized for 50 feet in each direction, and a cheap retail transmitter unharmed behind the Panamax. Same for a hit to the utilities that blew the plugs out of the wall. 

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Urban_Redneck

I installed a Sport Dog wired system. It works well the collar unit contains a 9v battery- it may be a little large for a small dog.

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Yukon1

I had a pro installed wired system done about eight years ago. It has been so hassle free that the only issues I've had is twice I forgot about the wire and drove a shovel through it. Really simple to fix though. A friend of mine went the wireless route. Between his house, garage and his proximity to neighbors, his zone for the dog ended up being pretty small.   

 

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topdog1961
1 hour ago, Yukon1 said:

I had a pro installed wired system done about eight years ago. It has been so hassle free that the only issues I've had is twice I forgot about the wire and drove a shovel through it. Really simple to fix though. A friend of mine went the wireless route. Between his house, garage and his proximity to neighbors, his zone for the dog ended up being pretty small.   

 

 

Be very careful with those repairs when you put a shovel through the wire. Improper repairs are the only reason a properly installed professional fence will not give you a lifetime of worry free service. My customers pay good money for a job done right. But some then choose to cobble it up, thinking they are saving a few dollars by repairing it themselves. An improper repair will always fail eventually, and it often is in the middle of the winter when it is difficult or impossible to repair. Make sure you use the original quality wire and a direct burial rated splice. The grease filled capsules work best. Shrink wrap will not work long term. This is so important that it is explained in the post installation check sheet that I have every customer sign. I tell them (unlike most installers) I don't want their service business making repairs to their fence, I make more money spending my time installing new fences than repairing old ones. I just want their fence to give them good service forever.  I tell them I will even mail them the splice kit free of charge if they cut their fence, just don't bury an improper repair. It will cost me headaches and them more in the long run.  Yet many still do this. 

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Yukon1

Good advice, which is pretty much in line with what my service guy told me. He came out the first time I cut line and showed me how to do the repair. I did the next one using the parts he provided. It's been four or five years since the last break with no issues. 

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Jake

I had a small flock of sheep which I kept penned when not out on pasture with an above ground electric fence which was charged by a plug in unit that put out a mini ampere current pulsed at a fraction of a second but lots of voltage. Never had a problem with coyotes or stray dogs. So when I decided to fence a large paddock for my kennel of purebred dogs I decided to try it there. Pups were introduced to it once (on a lead) and they never needed a second lesson and would not breech it or jump over it no matter how tempting something on the other side  might be. They all looked at me in amazement when I would step over it, lol. The chargers are available now at TSC as are the steel posts and insulators. Just be sure to get the modern charger units. Also a good voltage meter is handy for checking that the unit is functioning properly. 

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Jake

P.S. when there was the possibility of a thunderstorm with accompanying lightening I would unplug the the charger and disconnect it from the line. I I forgot to reconnect the dogs still would see the "fence" and not venture near it.

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WMassGriff

Never had much luck with our Invisible Fence when my Airedale wanted to get at something real bad. She took the hit and waited for me on the other side of the fence to get back in the yard. My subsequent Airedales and now my Griff has a woven wired fence.

 

One consideration is that if your dogs always test the fence they will go through a lot of batteries. I know cause the out of control aggressive dog in our neighborhood  is always getting loose and rushing me and my dog when walking by. The owner's excuse "oh his battery must be dead". One of these days my excuse will be "sorry your dog is dead"!

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topdog1961
On February 8, 2018 at 1:07 PM, WMassGriff said:

 

Never had much luck with our Invisible Fence when my Airedale wanted to get at something real bad.

 

 

Do you have an actual Invisible Fence brand or are you using the term in a generic sense, like "Kleenex" for any soft tissue?  The brand I install has a feature that allows me to program the receiver to continue shocking longer and harder if the dog crosses the wire. There is a proper time and place for punishment based training. If a dog is trained correctly, knows what is expected of it, and still blows through the fence because the correction doesn't last but a second or less, that's the time. I've even resorted to multiple receivers and up to 10 seconds of heavy correction to the genital area for very stubborn dogs. Knock on wood I've never had a dog in 15 years that I didn't break its resolve to get out. If you have an actual professionally installed Invisible Fence, I believe they have this feature, and you paid good money for professional containment, your dealer should fix your problem.  But if you have a DIY system, you are not alone. I can set up at a home show and people walk past all day and say "those don't work, I have the most stubborn dog in the world, he figured out he can run right through it." But my customers come up and tell a different story. All dogs are different, so many DIY fences give good results if the training is done right. But they advantage of a professionally installed system is greater long term durability, and you are paying someone else to solve your problem. A reputable dealer won't give up until they do, or should give your money back. 

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