Electric Fence for Dogs

I installed an electric fence for dogs after my Siberian Husky, Luna, escaped several times. My backyard is completely enclosed with a chain-link fence but she got out several times by going underneath the fence.

Twice, I spent the entire day looking for her. Fortunately, I got her back each of the four times she got out. I wanted to install an electric fence but a dog trainer cautioned me not to. I then found this article “Why I REALLY Hate Electronic Shock (Invisible) Fences” strongly cautioning not to install an electric fence and I realized that almost all of the problems can be easily avoided by installing an electric fence only around the backyard.

When you call a company to install an electric fence, they will install the fence around your entire property including the front yard. This is because the electric wire has to form a loop. The wire has to be installed in a circle looping back to the point of origin.

For some reason, electric fence companies don’t even mention the fact that the backyard can be electrified without doing the front yard. Perhaps they think that doing the entire property seems like a better deal. More likely, they just haven’t thought about the problems and a better way to do it.

First, what is an electric fence for dogs? The fence is not really a fence and is not an electric fence. It is a low voltage wire which is usually buried in the ground. When your dog gets within a few feet of the wire while wearing a shock collar, your dog will get an electric shock produced by a device on the collar.

One of the problems mentioned with electric collars involve training the dog to leave the property by walking over the driveway at the point where the electric fence wire crosses the driveway. Another problem appears to be caused when your dog is allowed to run free in the front yard and playfully runs toward children on the street. Your dog may now associate children with getting shocked.

By enclosing only the backyard with the low voltage wire, these problems no longer exist. In my backyard, I already had a chain-link fence, so the other problems also disappear. Because of the chain-link fence, my dog can only run away from the wire in one direction and it became very easy to train her.

To electrify only the backyard, is really simple. The wire still needs to loop back to the point of origin, so instead of installing the wire in a circle around the property, the wire is installed from one side of the house to the other side and then back again. There are two ways to do this. The wires have to be installed 4′ apart, so if the wires are buried your dog will have to stay further away from the property line. I installed my wires in the chain-link fence with one wire at the bottom and one wire at the top so they are 4′ apart.

Luna got shocked a couple of times and once let out a scream, but she doesn’t get out anymore and it has not affected her personality at all.

She did get out once after the electric fence was installed. I had the wires installed in a chain-link fence and I have a gate at the back of my fence. At the fence, the installer had to run the wires down into the ground and left one of the wires coming down the pole and going into the ground at an angle just at a point where a raccoon had been entering the backyard. Apparently the wire was in his way and the raccoon chewed through it. My electric fence unit has an alarm if the wires cut but it was installed in the basement and we did not hear the alarm.

After her last escape, I added a GPS tracking device to her collar. After fixing the electric fence, she hasn’t gotten out again but if she does, I’ll be able to know where she is with the GPS tracking device reporting to a nap in my smart phone.

Since the wire was repaired, Luna hasn’t got out again.  Repairing the wire is easy using a wire stripper but make sure you use water proof landscape wire connectors.

Since an electric fence with shock collar for dogs uses low voltage wire, you don’t need an electrician to install it.  You can do it yourself or call a company that specializes in hidden electric fences.  Note that Invisible Fence is a brand name.  The electric fence company I used is DogWatch.com. I found some good training videos at Dog Fence DIY.

I found two GPS tracking devices for dogs SpotLite and Tagg Tracker.  I bought Tagg Tracker which is less expensive than SpotLite to purchase and 50% less expensive for the monthly service.  Additionally, Tagg Tracker’s battery lasts much longer between recharging because it turns off the GPS unit when the dog is within 200 feet of the base.

This is a photo of the electric collar with the GPS tracking unit attached to the electric collar.  The smaller black device is the shock device and the larger white devices the GPS tracking unit with a gray rubber piece designed to prevent the GPS device from coming off.
dog collar with electric shock device
This is a photo of Luna (Siberian Husky) and Colby (Tibetan Terrier). You can see the GPS tracking unit attached to Luna’s electric shock collar
dog collar with GPS device