The first thing that comes to mind when pet owners think about letting their dog wander around the yard is the need for a traditional fence.
But as a matter of fact:
Unless you want to keep other animals out, a physical fence isn’t really necessary as most electric in-ground fences are much more flexible, far less expensive and don’t require any permits.
If you don’t mind the DIY — you can have an invisible fence that will keep your dog safe and sound within a few days.
But picking a good product can be confusing, especially if you don’t understand all the technical mumbo-jumbo
In this review, I’ll share my best in-ground fence for dogs.
I’ll also talk about wireless fences and what things you should look for in an invisible fence, as well as how it works and how to train your dog effectively.
Quick Comparison: Best In-Ground Fence For Dogs
|PetSafe Basic In-Ground Fence||$$||B+|
|PetSafe YardMax Rechargeable In-Ground Fence||$$$||A-|
|SportDOG Brand In-Ground Fence System||$$$||A+|
(Click on the product to view image)
Top 3 Best In-Ground Fence For Dogs Reviews
PetSafe Basic In-Ground Fence Review
Create A Safe Outdoor Area For Your Dog
This electronic underground fence from PetSafe comes with 500 ft of 20 gauge boundary wire and 50 boundary flags which can cover up to a 1/3 acre out of the box, but in case you need more, there’s an option to extend it up to 5 acres using additional wires and flags. You can control unlimited numbers of pets by getting more collars.
If you’re into DIY, this will be an easy weekend project for you. You’ll have to plug the transmitter into the surge protector (included) and set the wire to go through the surge protector as well before it reaches the transmitter so if lightning strikes, you won’t have a problem. The flags are meant to train your dog to recognize his new boundaries in a fun and quick way that should last for about 2 weeks. Aim for 2-3 training session each day, each lasting 10-15 minutes to get fast results.
The collar is waterproof, and the neck strap can be adjusted from 6-26 inches, this will fit dogs over 8 lb, it also has 4 level of static correction, and a tone-only mode for warning or when you are just training your dog. The included battery (RFA-67) on the collar should last for about 1-2 months, depending on use, and the low battery indicator will remind you when its time to switch to a new one.
If your dog gets too close to the edges of the perimeter, the collar will issue a warning beep, and in case he ignores it, the collar will release a safe and harmless electrostatic correction. You’ll need to experiment with the static levels depending on your dog size and temperament; you can always start with the lowest setting and see how your dog reacts until you find the right level for him.
- Extends up to 5 acres
- Unlimited numbers of pets
- Good value
- Doesn’t fit dogs under 8 lb
PetSafe YardMax Rechargeable In-Ground Fence Review
Turn Your Yard Into Your Dog’s Playpen
This system is another in-ground fence from PetSafe, it covers up to a 1/3 acre, but with additional wires and flags, it can be extended for up to 10 acres. The original kit has 500 ft of 20 gauge boundary wire and 50 boundary flags.
The installation process should about 1-2 days, mostly because you need to plan where you’re going to spread the wire and then you need to hide it in the ground. Be sure to use the flags at first so that your dog can see his boundaries. For training instructions, follow the training guide that comes with the product, but keep the sessions short and fun.
The waterproof collar fits small dogs that weigh 5 lb and above, with neck sizes 6 to 26 inches, It has 5 levels of correction and a tone-only mode and it’s also rechargeable. Charging the collar for 3 hours will give you up to 3 weeks of work, depending on how much it’s being used.
The YardMax has two modes:
- YardMax Mode has a warning zone that begins on the other side of the wire, opposed to other invisible fences that starts activating the collar within the yard, this provides more area for your dog, and you’ll maximize your whole yard space. The collar correction also continues past the warning zone, so your dog will receive static correction from the collar until he returns to the pet area or after 15 seconds timeout.
- Traditional Mode the warning zone begins within the hidden wire zone, your dog will receive a warning tone before he reaches the buried wire, and a static correction after he reaches it. In this mode, the collar correction doesn’t continue past the warning zone.
Test the different options and the correction levels to fit your dog. When you are just starting out, set the collar on tone only mode or level 1 and go from there.
- Extends up to 10 acres
- Fits small dogs
- Rechargeable receiver
- YardMax Mode
- Not for every pocket
SportDOG Brand In-Ground Fence System Review
An Alternative To A Traditional Fence
This wired containment system from SportDOG can cover up to 1 1/3 acres of land using 1000 feet of 20-gauge boundary wire and 100 flags and can be expanded to cover up to 100 acres (!) with more wires and flags. This fence can also be extended to contain an unlimited number of dogs using additional collars.
The installation is simple — just hide the wire underground or attach it to a fixed object and plug in the wall-mountable transmitter. After that, use the flags temporarily as a visual aid to help you train your dog. For more training tips, check out the operating guide that comes with the product.
The 100% waterproof collar will fit any dog over 10 lb, and it has 4 static corrections levels and a tone you can select from, it also has a low battery indicator to notify you when you need to replace the 9-volt battery (can last between 6-12 months). A feature called Anti-Linger will prevent the battery from draining by being in the warning zone for too long.
When your dog reaches the warning zone, the collar will give a warning beep. If the dog enters into the stimulation zone, a gentle stimulation will be sent to make sure he returns to his boundary area. In case there’s a break or cut in the underground wire, the transmitter will trigger an alarm to let you know you need to fix this ASAP.
The transmitter also includes a built-in lightening protector to help avoid damage from power surge or lightning strike
Besides that, this product is highly durable and can stand extreme weather conditions.
- Cover up to 100 acres
- Long life battery
- Anti-Linger Feature
- Wire break alarm
- Doesn’t fit dogs under 10 lb
In-Ground Dog Fence vs Wireless Dog Fence
There are two types of electric dog fences — in-ground dog fence and wireless dog fence, and to know which one is best for your dog, you have to be familiar with the main differences between the systems.
In-Ground Dog Fence
This type of fence is suitable for homeowners who want their dog to stay within the limits of their yard. The installation takes a bit of time and patience, but you’ll save money by doing it alone, and you can even make this a family activity. You’re also not limited to the radius of the wireless transmitter, and you can set your boundaries.
Instead of warning your dog when he gets too far from the transmitter, this fence uses a wire that’s usually hidden underground, and once your dog gets close to it, the collar will give your dog a correction to let him know that this is where the line is. You can also use the flags that come with the kit to give your dog a visual indication of the boundaries.
Wireless Dog Fence
The great thing about a wireless system is its portability. Whether you’re a renter or planning on buying a house, this system will save you the hassle of laying an in-ground fence that you’ll have to take out shortly after. It’s also ideal for trips and vacations since you can set it up and have your dog off leash without worrying he’ll get too far.
A wireless dog fence kit includes a transmitter and a collar (both work on batteries). The transmitter sets the radius that your dog is allowed to be in, and once he moves too far away from the transmitter, the collar will receive a static correction so that your dog will learn to recognize the boundaries you set for him. The maximum wireless boundary will vary depending on the product.
Related: Best Wireless Fence System For Dogs
What To Look For In An In-Ground Dog Fence?
The coverage area of an underground fence depends on the length of the wire, so the more boundary wire you have — the more space you can reach. Some fences offer 5 acres, and other even 100 acres, although most of them can be extended.
Before choosing an in-ground dog fence, you need to decide on the area you want to cover (I suggest drawing it on paper first) and pick the one that meets your needs. You can always buy additional wire in case you’ll ever want to increase the scope of the fence.
I should also mention that if you have more than a single pet, or you’re planning on getting one, you need to have the option to add more pets to the system by purchasing additional collars.
It’s not the simplest solution since you’ll have to hide the wire in the ground for the fence to be invisible, but there’s no limit to its flexibility since you can design the boundaries yourself. It should not take more than a couple of days to install the entire fence.
You should lay the boundary wire overground, and attach the transmitter to a wall inside an interior location or near an outdoor outlet that is protected from the weather. Connect the wire to the transmitter and test it using the receiver collar.
Once everything is working, you’ll need to bury the wire to create an invisible fence — using a spade, make a slit 1-3 inches deep and lay the wire inside it. Now all you’ve left to do is just place the flags and train your dog to get to know his new boundaries.
Most of the receiver collars come with 4-5 correction levels and also a tone-only mode. The more correction levels mean you can find the best stimulation for your dog size and tolerability. For example, a toy dog and a large breed dog should not have the same correction level. A tone-only mode gives your dog a warning instead of using a shock right away; you can use it if you don’t want to use the static feature for some reason, that may be enough for some dogs.
The collar should also be protected against water since your dog will probably get wet at some point and you don’t want the collar to get ruined because of that. You should also decide whether you want a rechargeable collar or one that uses batteries? batteries usually last a lot longer while rechargeable collar lasts typically 3 days before it needs to be recharged again. Always pay attention to the low battery indicator since a nonworking collar means that the fence is down.
The last thing you should consider is the collar size; it should not be too tight or too loose. Most of the collars are adjustable and can fit a wide range of neck sizes, so measure your dog neck and look for a product that matches his neck measurement and his weight.
Are Electric Collars Dangerous?
No, shock collars are perfectly safe as long as you use them correctly.
With dog fences, you can choose from multiple correction levels to ensure you’re picking the right one for your dog size and tolerability.
Unlike regular fence, where a dog can climb, jump or dig underneath it, with an electric fence — there’s less chance of him running into the road or and messing with your neighbor’s properties. It’s also way better than being tied to a kennel or getting caught by animal control.
Your dog will quickly learn to avoid the static correction and will learn to pay attention to the beeps inside the warning zones, this is important for your pet’s safety, freedom, and independence.
If you still aren’t entirely convinced, you can pick one that has a tone-only mode and use that.
How Does An In-Ground Fence Work?
Every basic in-ground fence system should come with these parts:
- Fence transmitter
- Boundary wire
- Receiver collar
- Training flags
The fence transmitter sends a radio signal through the boundary wire; the wire acts as an antenna that carries the message to the receiver collar on your dog.
The collar will produce a warning tone when your dog starts to get too close to one of the edges of the perimeter you set, and if he attempts to cross it, the collar will send a low-grade pulse to prevent your him from leaving the yard.
As for the training flags? These are just visual guides to help your dog know his limits.
How To Train Your Dog On An In-Ground Fence?
Even the best in-ground fence for dogs won’t do much if your dog doesn’t know why it’s there.
When you just start training your dog, use the flags that come in the box. Your dog doesn’t see the fence, and it will be unfair if we didn’t mark it somehow, that’s why the flags are there. After a while, you can get rid of the flags but in the meantime — let them be a visual sign for your dog.
Walk your dog along the safe zone so he can learn where he’s allowed to run and play but also where he should not go. Let him explore his safe radius and get used to the warning tones and the light static corrections. You may need to lower or increase the collar stimulation depending on your dog reaction, but make sure to praise him with a lot of high-quality treats when he’s starting to get the hang of it.
If your dog weighs 10 pounds or more, the SportDOG Brand In-Ground Fence is the best choice for its price. Even if you don’t need the extra coverage now, you might find it useful later on without having to buy another electric fence system.
Besides, the safety features alone make this one a solid fence you can count on and the best in-ground fence for dogs in my opinion.
Your dog size, your turf and the budget you had in mind are all important factors you have to consider before investing in an invisible dog fence.
If you’re looking to save money on traditional fencing or a unique gift for dog owners, then an in-ground fence is the way to go. Setting the whole thing should take a day or two, but it’s a nice little challenge, and it doesn’t look that complicated once you go over the manual.
Once you’re done, the result will be well worth your money, and your dog will thank you for it.