My Trials And Tribulations With The Under Ground Dog Fence

Dozier - AKC CH, CGC

Mr Wrinkles
Barked: Thu Dec 1, '11 11:32am PST 
For all those that are thinking about this type of fence and those that are having problems with it here is my story.

I thought long and hard about the under ground dog fence and decided to give it a try about 2 years ago after reading a lot about it on the net.

After receiving it I read all the directions, made a map of the fence area( 5 acres) and armed myself with my tools.I set up the transmitter inside an insulated out building on my property and started laying out the wire.I tested it and it worked! Now all I had to do is decide where to bury it and where to run it on top of the ground. I buried it under all the gates 3 inches deep like it said and ran it on top of the ground through the woods and along the fences with garden staples to hold it down. I trained the dogs with the flags( which took a couple of weeks),charged the 3 collars( they were the rechargable kind)and put the collars on the dogs( I have 2 Newfi's and a Dog de Bordeaux ie: BIG dogs). At first it worked fine and I was glad I used this fence instead of a real fence because the yard looked better and it was easy to get around without gates.

Then the problems started.The first thing that I noticed was that my dogs got out. I checked the fence and it was ok. The collars were not giving a big enough shock for my big dogs so I turned it up all the way and set it with the biggest area of shock. That worked for a while then one or the other dog would get out. I found out that the transceiver would move on their neck to the side and they would not get the shock. Boy my dogs are tough. They seemed to test the fence a lot. I would have to check the collars daily to make sure they were on right, the dogs necks were shaved at the spot where the transciever went and make sure that the dogs didn't develope a sore from wearing them all the time. The instructions said to only use the collar for 12 hours a day but my dogs stay outside and they were on all the time.At times I had to remove the collar from one of the dogs due to a sore developing and keep it off for a few days until it healed. That was ok because the dogs were trained pretty well and didn't try the fence as much.
The next thing that happened was that the wire broke in the woods for some reason. It was the small guage wire that came with the set so I decided to fix that problem and replaced the fence wire with 12 guage under ground wire I had from another project. That wire was thick and hard to work with but would hold up much better. That was ok for a while and then my husband broke the wire that went under the gate with the harrow which went into the ground more than 3 inches. I fixed the break several times as he kept breaking it in different places. Now what do I do? I buried the wire in PVC pipe and buried it 8 inches deep. That worked and the boundry field only decreased a few feet.

Since then I have had several other problems such as the dogs running through the boundry because the field shrank to about 6 ft from burying the wire at all the gates and my husband continually breaking the wire all over the place. Recently( 3 months ago) I reran the wire to include a pond we built. The wire now encloses about 15 acres for the dogs to run in. I ran the wire through PVC pipes and under metal poles at the gates and high on the fences that surround my property so it can't be cut again.The boundry field is small because of this but it workes fine. At the points that I needed to reinforce the boundry strength I ran different patterns with the wire. At the front gate I ran a U shape down the driveway on the sides and 6" deep, 70 feetlong and back to the fence which gave the dogs over 100 feet of shock area to cross and I ran the wire in a snake pattern in the back of the property where there is no fence and a path that the dogs crossed the boundry wire at previously. That gave another 50 feet or so of boundry shock. My fence comes with a fail safe design that stops the shock for 10 seconds and then restartes it to give the dogs time to retreat if they get trapped in the field. So far they haven't gone far enough into the field to have that feature tested lately. One of the dogs did get trapped when we first set the fence up and the fail safe feature worked great. He was able to retreat out of the boundry before the shock restarted.

It has now been over 3 months and no problems have occured. The fence is safe from my husband and the dogs can't get out as long as the fence stays on and the collars work. They have tried the driveway and the back path but didn't get out.I feel the dogs are safe again.

Things I did to make a better fence:

Use big guage wire that is for underground use.

Run wire on the fences high-I used nail staples on the wooden poles and bread ties on the metal poles to keep the wire up and just ran it next to the wire on the fence. The staples were only in the poles enough to hold the wire in case I need to move the wire or the poles.

Run wire through pipes at gates and deep in the ground

Use garden staples to hold the wire down on top of the ground.

Make the boundry field wider when needed by using patterns. Just remember that the wire has to be continuous to work.

Use the battery replacable water resistant collars.
The original collars didn't hold up long. I replaced them several times while they were under "life time warrenty"(The first year)and now the dogs have the cheaper $50 ones with replacable batteries. I have to check the collars occasionally because there is no alarm on these but they have been in service for 5 months now without problems and the batteries are still strong. I check the batteries with my battery tester.The new collars aren't water proof like the old ones were either so I will have to watch out when the dogs get in the pond. I put silicone seal over the battery compartment so that should help and the dogs usually don't get their necks wet they just wade up to their belly's.

Make the boundry field as wide as needed and as high a shock as needed

So as you see the under ground fences work great when you tweek them.
You CAN use metal pipes, PVC pipes. run the wire deep up tp 12 ",run it high on a metal fence,run large acreage as long as it is within the noted amount on the directions,and use patterns to make the boundry field larger.Try to keep all the wire guage the same so the boundry strength stays stable. I crossed the wire to cancel the signal and ran it around the pool and the garden to keep the dogs out of those areas also. Just remember to read all the directions for your fence and think about everything before you start.

Hopefully this info will keep you from doing all my mistakes and wasting a lot of time and effort redoing you work over and over again like I did.