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| October 24, 2017

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Underground Fence Review and Guide

Underground Fence Review and Guide

Introduction and Considerations

What is every dog owner’s first priority? Keeping your dog safe and secure! In many cases an underground dog fence may be just the ticket. Perhaps your homeowner’s association does not allow unsightly fencing that will contain your dog. Maybe the expense of a traditional fence is just not in your budget. Maybe your determined dog keeps finding ways through, under or over your traditional fence. Whatever the reason and underground dog fence, when properly installed and your dog properly trained, is an effective, humane and low cost solution for most dogs.

What is an underground dog fence? An underground dog fence is a system consisting of a radio transmitter, wire that acts as a transmitting antenna and a collar with a receiver that picks up the radio signal from the fence when your dog gets too close. When your dog enters the warning area near the wire the collar beeps warning him to stay back. If he continues to move toward the wire he will receive a static shock or correction. Some systems have progressive corrections so that the closer the dog progresses toward the wire the stronger the static shock he receives. There is some controversy about the humane aspect of delivering a shock to an animal to deter him. Most experts agree however that when an underground dog fence is properly installed and the dog is properly trained to the fence that these systems are very humane and safe. Consider the alternative if your dog runs out into traffic or gets lost. There is some chance of your dog being traumatized by the shock of he is improperly trained and/or the correction levels are too high for your particular dog’s size and temperament. Proper training is critical to success with these systems. Yes, it is true that your dog, hopefully, will not like receiving the shock no more than you like touching a door knob and getting a static shock. This is his incentive to avoid the boundary. While the shock is uncomfortable it is not in itself dangerous to the animal. Most systems have automatic shut offs if the animal does not move out of the correction zone to protect him from over correction.

Compared to a traditional fence an underground dog fence is fairly easy to install and should take less than a day with most applications. The hardest part of the installation is burying the wire. I offer four methods of burying the wire. The first is to use a straight edge spade shovel and use it to dig down about 3 inches and create a V-shaped trench to lay the wire in. The simply press the sod or dirt back in place. This is the most difficult and time consuming method. The second way is to use a gas powered lawn edger to cut a 3 inch deep trench. Lay the wire in the trench and replace the displaced dirt and press into place. The third method is to rent a trencher with a cable installation attachment. The trencher will cut the trench and lay the wire at the same time. The fourth method is to not bury the wire at all. Instead you can simple lay the wire above ground and use Pet Fence Staples to hold it in place. This method works well for low traffic areas and in grassy areas where the wire will lay deep in the turf. If you have to cross a driveway or sidewalk with the wire you will need to use a masonry blade to cut a groove in the concrete or asphalt and then use caulk to seal the wire into place.

There are many factors involved in choosing the right underground dog fence system. Some of these factors are discussed below. Later on I’ll make specific recommendations based on these factors. Wireless dog fences are not considered in this discussion.

Size of your dog

The size of your dog is an important factor in choosing the right system. A small dog between 5 lbs and 12 lbs needs a receiver collar that delivers lower correction levels than you would need for a larger dog. By the same token a medium sized dog between 10 lbs and 60 lbs will need higher levels of correction than a small dog. And large dogs (over 60 lbs), depending on temperament, may need even higher levels of correction. Careful consideration should be given in the case of very large dogs to environment and temperament before choosing to install an underground fence. It may be necessary to install the underground dog fence in conjunction with a traditional fence for these dogs.

Temperament of dog

Another important factor in choosing the right system is the temperament of your dog. If your dog is mild mannered or timid (what I call The Home Body) then you may be able to get by with low levels of correction. If you have an energetic or curious dog (I call him The Explorer) then you will likely need higher levels of correction to overcome these traits. The Protector (larger, more aggressive breeds) might need even higher levels of correction. Underground dog fences have anywhere from 1 level of correction up to 8 user settable levels of correction. If you have a stubborn dog (I decline to name these guys) you will want to consider a system designed for stubborn dogs with the highest levels of correction.

Number of dogs or cats (yes cats) on the system

If you have more than one dog or even a cat, especially if they are significantly different in terms of size and temperament, you will need to select a system that is adaptable to these different traits. The PetSafe Deluxe Dog Fence Transmitter is compatible with the PetSafe Small Dog Fence Collar and the PetSafe Stubborn Dog Collar allowing you to mix and match collars for your pets. The PetSafe Underground Cat Fence is also compatible with this system.

Yard size

The size of your yard will influence your choice in Underground Dog Fence systems. Each system has a maximum size it can support from the DogTek Underground Dog Fence which supports up to 2 1/2 acres to the SportDog Underground Dog Fence which can enclose up to 100 acres.

Outside influences

When deciding to install an underground dog fence you might have a tendency to think only about keeping your pet home and from this perspective they usually work very well. There are, however, outside influences you should consider before purchasing and installing your fence. One of the biggest downfalls of an underground dog fence is that, while it will keep your dog in, it cannot keep other dogs, wildlife, predators or people out. If you live in a busy neighborhood with a lot of foot traffic or a lot of people walking their dogs past your boundary line you might want to consider keeping your boundary far back from these areas or installing a traditional fence of some kind in this area of your yard. While you and your dog know the fence is there other people cannot see the fence and your dog lurking near the boundary may frighten some people and may invite other dogs to enter the yard to say hello. Signs indicating an underground dog fence is in place might help but they can be unsightly and people unfamiliar with the technology might not trust it and still become frightened.

If you live in area where other dogs run loose an underground dog fence may not be for you as there will be no way for you to keep these dogs from entering your yard. The same goes for wildlife that your dog may chase or predators that may attack your dog. Most predators are active in the evenings and after dark so with proper precautions such as keeping your dog inside during these times you can usually avoid problems. With wildlife some dogs will get so hot on the chase that they will run through the fence and get stuck on the outside with no way to get back in until you notice their transgression. A fence with stronger correction levels and more intensive training may overcome this problem.

Existing fence

If you have an existing traditional fence and your creative thinking dog (The Explorer?) keeps finding ways out then you can consider adding an underground dog fence to keep him contained. This is the best of both worlds. Installation is much simpler too since you can simply attached the underground fence wire to the existing traditional fence.

Remote Training

A couple of these systems come with a remote control that allows you to use the collar for additional training functions where the dog may be some distance from you. These systems are the Innotek Fencing Standard Contain and Train Dog Fence and the Innotek Fencing UltraSmart Contain and Train Dog Fence. If you plan use a remote trainer then these systems will save you money and the hassle of switching between two different collars.

Compatibility with other fences and/or barriers

If you are planning to use your underground fence in addition to other containment products such as the PetSafe Pawz Away Indoor Barrier, the PetSafe Pawz Away Outdoor Barrier or the PetSafe Indoor Fence, or if you have dogs of different sizes and temperaments, you will need to choose a system that has collar compatibility between them. The PetSafe Deluxe, PetSafe Small Dog, PetSafe Standard and PetSafe Cat collars can be used with any current PetSafe underground fence and the PetSafe Indoor Fence. The Pawz Away and Innotek Ultra collars are compatible with the Innotek Ultra Transmitter as well as the PetSafe Pawz Away Indoor Barrier and the PetSafe Paws Away Outdoor Barrier. All other systems are compatible with their own transmitters only including the PetSafe Wireless Instant Fence which is not part of this review

System cost

For some of you budget for a system will play a role. All the systems listed below are time tested with maybe the exception of the DogTek which is new to the U.S. But you do get what you pay for. The lower cost systems will work well in the right environments and with the right pets but I would encourage to you buy the best system you can afford. The extra features could save you both time and money. For example, the cost of replacing batteries could become substantial over time. Also, expanding your system will only be possible if you purchase a system that allows compatibility. Features like a low battery indicator or battery backup could prove to be invaluable in the long run.

Battery cost

Battery life will vary depending on things like how often your pet approaches the barrier. Over time battery replacements, especially for the proprietary batteries used in the PetSafe systems could become a bigger expense than going with a rechargeable system.

Underground Dog Fences Considered…

Below are the pros and cons of the top selling underground fences available. Ranking for these products are based on a scale of one paw to five paws and rate the product for features and reliability.

Product: Innotek Fencing Standard Underground Fence

Price: $ 89.95

Rating: Two Paws

Pros:

Non-proprietary batteries
Lowest cost system
Progressive correction

Cons:

Single correction level
No low battery warning
Collar is not rechargeable
Supports up to 5 acres
No battery backup for the transmitter
Not compatible with Pawz Away Barriers

Product: Innotek Fencing Standard Contain and Train Dog Fence

Price: $ 159.95

Rating: Two Paws

Pros:

Non-proprietary batteries
Lowest cost contain and train system
Progressive correction
Includes a remote training feature

Cons:

Single correction level
No low battery warning
Collar is not rechargeable
Supports up to 5 acres
No battery backup for the transmitter
Not compatible with Pawz Away Barriers

Product: PetSafe Standard Underground Dog Fence

Price: $ 119.95

Rating: 2 Paws

Pros:

Good reliable system
Support up to 10 acres
Compatible with PetSafe Indoor Fence
Low cost

Cons:

Single Correction level
Collar is not rechargeable
Proprietary batteries
No low battery indicator
No battery backup for transmitter

Product: Innotek Fencing Rechargeable Underground Fence

Price: $ 169.95

Rating: 3 1/2 Paws

Pros:

Rechargeable Collar
Premium transmitter
Battery backup for transmitter
3 correction levels
Supports up to 25 acres

Cons:

NiMH Battery
Hums when recharging
Not compatible with Pawz Away Barriers

Product: PetSafe Deluxe Underground Pet Fence

Price: $ 159.95

Rating: 3 1/2 Paws

Pros:

Compatible with other PetSafe collars
Compatible with PetSafe Indoor Fence
Reliable mid range system
Higher quality Collar and receiver
Supports up to 25 acres
4 correction levels
Low battery indicator

Cons:

Proprietary batteries
Collar is not rechargeable
No battery backup for the transmitter

Product: Innotek Fencing UltraSmart Underground Dog Fence

Price: $ 279.95

Rating: 4 1/2 Paws

Pros:

Collar is rechargeable, uses a lithium ion battery
Low battery indicator
Contoured collar with collar fit feature
Compatible with Pawz Away barriers
ReadyTest feature to ensure collar contact

Cons:

No independent correction level for different size dogs

Product: Innotek Fencing UltraSmart Contain and Train Dog Fence

Price: $ 319.95

Rating: 4 1/2 Paws

Pros:

Collar is rechargeable, uses a lithium ion battery
Low battery indicator
Contoured collar with collar fit feature
Compatible with Pawz Away barriers
ReadyTest feature to ensure collar contact
Included lightning protection
Includes a remote training feature

Cons:

No independent correction level for different size dogs
Larger collar than the Innotek Fencing UltraSmart Underground Dog Fence without the remote training feature

Product: PetSafe Stubborn Dog Underground Fence

Price: $ 159.95

Rating: 3 1/2 Paws

Pros:

Strongest correction strength available
Compatible with other PetSafe collars
Compatible with PetSafe indoor fence
Supports up to 10 acres
5 correction levels
Collar vibration
Uses a standard 9 volt battery

Cons:

No battery backup for the transmitter
Collar is not rechargeable

Product: PetSafe Deluxe Small Dog Fence

Price: $ 199.95

Rating: 4 Paws

Pros:

Smallest, lightest collar available
Lower correction levels
4 correction levels
Compatible with PetSafe indoor fence
Compatible with other PetSafe outdoor systems
Designed for dogs under 12 lbs
Supports up to 25 acres

Cons:

Proprietary batteries
Collar is not rechargeable
No battery backup for the transmitter

Product: SportDog Underground Electric Dog Fence

Price: $ 219.95

Rating: 4 Paws

Pros:

Independent correction levels
Comes with 1000 feet of wire
Supports up to 100 acres, the largest available
4 correction levels
Collar vibration feature
Very durable collar
Uses a standard 9 volt battery

Cons:

Collar is not rechargeable
Large clunky receiver
No battery backup for the transmitter

Product: DOGTEK Pet Containment System

Price: $ 149.95

Rating: Unrated

Pros:

8 correction levels
Separate configurations for warning distance and correction distance

Cons:

No low battery indicator
Less wire and flags than other systems
Supports only 2 1/2 acres
New and unproven

Recommendations

Okay you say, that is all fine and dandy but which underground dog fence do I want? Well read on and I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction…

Single Dog, or Multiple Dogs of Similar Size and Temperament

For most situations I recommend the Innotek Fencing UltraSmart Underground Dog Fence. It has a good balance between features and value and is our most popular underground dog fence. It is very reliable and holds up with time. This fence has 3 levels of correction which are progressive meaning the correction gets stronger as the dog stays in the correction zone. It has a lithium Ion rechargeable collar which will likely save you money over the long run. The contoured collar with collar fit test is a great feature and it is compatible with the PetSafe Pawz Away Indoor Barrier and the PetSafe Pawz Away Outdoor Barrier. This fence is not for dogs 12 lbs or under and can enclose up to 25 acres with additional wire and flags. The only real downside to this system is that the collars do not have independent correction levels making this system unsuitable for dogs of different sizes and temperaments. There is a workaround for this which involves placing a resistor across the probes to reduce the correction level. You can pick up these resistors at Radio Shack. A 33k ohm resistor will reduce the correction level by about 50% and a 5.6K ohm resistor will reduce the correction level by about 75%. If you do this please make sure you remove the resistor before recharging the collar. Frankly, I believe this workaround to cumbersome for most and would recommend a different system for multiple dogs of different sizes and temperaments. Oh, did I mention that this system has battery backup for the transmitter? So when the power goes out your dog still stays in.

Multiple Dogs of Differing Sizes and Temperaments

For multiple dogs of different sizes and temperaments I recommend the PetSafe Deluxe Underground Pet Fence. With this system you can add on collars that are designed for the size and temperament of your additional dogs or cats. It is compatible with the PetSafe Standard Collar, the PetSafe Deluxe Collar, The PetSafe Small Dog Collar, The PetSafe Cat Collar and the PetSafe Stubborn Dog Collar making this an excellent choice for this situation. All these collars have independent correction level adjustments so each dog gets an appropriate correction. These collars are all compatible with the PetSafe Indoor Pet Fence as well. The biggest downside to this solution is that each collar uses disposable proprietary PetSafe batteries that can increase costs over time.

Very Small Dogs (5 lbs – 12 lbs)

The only real good choice for the very small dog is the PetSafe Deluxe Small Dog Fence. The collars on other systems are too large and bulky to be comfortable on very small dogs. Additionally the correction levels on the deluxe small dog collar are lower than on any of the other collars. If you already have another PetSafe underground dog fence you can add the small dog collar to that system as well.

Stubborn, Aggressive or Very Large Dogs

If you have a stubborn, aggressive or very large dog you may need the extra corrective level of the PetSafe Stubborn Dog Underground Fence which is 3 times higher than other collars. Often times people think their dog needs a higher correction level when the real problem is that the prongs on the deluxe or standard collar are not making good contact with the skin or they have not properly trained their dog. Before using the higher setting on this collar be sure that these two factors have been addressed.

Extra Large Yard (25 Acres to 100 Acres)

For extra large yards over 25 acres the SportDog Underground Electric Dog Fence is the only choice. This fence has a range of up to 100 acres unlike other’s that range from 2 1/2 acres to 25 acres. The SportDog underground dog fence is one of the toughest, most durable systems. Beware though; the receiver on this system is one of the biggest out there.

In Conjunction with a Traditional Fence

If you already have a traditional fence and you need reinforcement you keep your dog from digging under, climbing over or otherwise escaping you may be able to get by with one of the entry level systems like the Innotek Fencing Standard Underground Fence or the PetSafe Standard Underground Dog Fence. Keep in mind all the other factors to though and remember that if you have a stubborn or large dog these systems may not have enough correction.

In Conjunction with Remote Training

If you have the need for a training collar in addition to the underground dog fence then I recommend the Innotek Fencing UltraSmart Contain and Train Dog Fence for all the same reasons I recommend the Innotek Fencing UltraSmart Underground Dog Fence. The contain and train fence includes a remote control that allows you to correct your dog from a distance. The collar on this system is slightly larger than the collar on the UltraSmart dog fence. This size difference makes it unsuitable for dogs less than 25 lbs.

Conclusion

I hope this article has been helpful. If you have questions about underground dog fences you can email me at the email address below and I will try to answer your questions a quickly as possible.

Copyright 2010 PetFencesRUs.com

Thank you for reading my Underground Fence Review and Guide. I hope you found it helpful. If you have any questions please email me at [email protected] and I will answer you as soon as possible, usually the same day.

Please visit my store when you are ready to purchase an Underground Dog Fence. I also carry Wireless Dog Fences, Wireless Pet Barriers, Pet Scat Mats, Spray Deterrents and Accessories.

Gerald Watkins

PetFencesRUs.com [http://www.petfencesrus.com/]

Article Source:
http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Gerald_Watkins/785615

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