No matter how trained and disciplined your dog is, there’s always a risk that he will hear or see something that will make him run off.
When pet owners think about keeping their dog from escaping, the first thing that comes to mind is a physical fence. But unless you want to keep other animals out, this isn’t really necessary, as most electric fences are far more flexible, less expensive, and don’t require special permits.
If you don’t mind the do-it-yourself factor, you can have an in-ground fence in your backyard within a couple of days. Alternatively, a wireless fence only takes a few hours to set up and is ideal for people who tend to move a lot.
Navigating through the different products, however, can be confusing, especially if you don’t understand all of the technical mumbo-jumbo.
Below are the best invisible dog fences, whether you’re looking for an in-ground or wireless fence. I’ll also talk about what you should look for in an invisible fence, how these kinds of fences work, and how they can be used to train your dog effectively.
Free Spirit in Ground Fence
An ideal choice for those with less space, this in-ground fence covers 1/3 of an acre, though you can purchase additional fence to expand the coverage zone to a full acre.
The system is very easy to assemble and will likely take less than a day. Also, the collar is fully rechargeable and waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about your dog escaping if it’s rainy outside or if he rolls in the mud.
Likewise, there are 5 different levels of correction which can be tailored to fit your dog’s size, as well as a simple tone and vibration mode for warning and training.
With a collar that adjusts anywhere from 6 to 26 inches, you can use this product on dogs as small as 5 pounds. Just be sure to take to collar off when your dog is safely inside, as it shouldn’t be worn for more than 12 hours at a time.
- Quick installation
- Ideal for smaller dogs
- Not recommended for prolonged wear
KoolKani in-Ground Fence System
This system can be used either as an in-ground fence or a dog training shock collar. With 500 feet of 23-gauge wire, it can safely cover up to 1/3 of an acre. Although you can add extra wire in case you need to.
The beauty of this system is that you can use it however you want. You can set it up easily in whatever pattern works best for you and your dog and you can take it down just as easily.
You can take the collar on the road with you to set up a temporary boundary or even for helping to combat disruptive behavior, such as barking or digging.
You also have the option to add multiple collars to the fence, but the remote dog training system only supports up to 3 dogs.
It’s an excellent way to teach your dog to stay in the yard or to keep him away from certain areas. If you need, you can use the remote control to manually select a specific level of static correction.
- Two products in one single package
- Can be used to train multiple dogs
- One-year replacement warranty
- Some customers mentioned they received a defective collar
PetSafe Basic In-Ground Fence
Also included are 50 boundary flags. In case you need more, there’s an option to extend the system up to 5 more acres using additional wires and flags.
The collar fits dogs weighing over 8 pounds, with a neck size between 6 to 26 inches. It also has 4 levels of static correction and a tone-only mode that works simply as a warning or when you’re just starting to train your dog.
If you have more than one dog, you can add more collars to the fence and personalize them separately.
- Extends up to 5 acres
- Great for multi-pet homes
- Good value
- Doesn’t fit dogs under 8 pounds
PetSafe YardMax In-Ground Fence
This in-ground fence covers up to 1/3 of an acre, but with additional wires and flags, it can be extended to work over a 10-acre span. The original kit has 500 feet of 20-gauge boundary wire and 50 boundary flags.
Like most underground systems, the installation process shouldn’t take more than one to two days. The receiver also supports multiple collars and if you have a small yard, you can boost your pets play area by using the YardMax mode.
In this mode, the warning zone begins on the other side of the wire. As 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 has 5 different levels of correction and a tone-only mode and is suitable for 5 pounds dogs or more, with a neck size between 6 to 26 inches.
- Extends up to 10 acres
- Suitable for small dogs
- Rechargeable receiver
- Two modes
- Some customers say the collars are poorly made
Sit Boo Boo Advanced Electric Fence System
Relatively easy to set up, it’s built to withstand rugged weather conditions and equipped to allow for multiple pets simply by purchasing additional collars.
As a built-in safety feature, the collar has a surge protector. It’s also designed to accommodate dogs that are 10 pounds or more in size, though there’s a miniature version.
With 7 different correction levels, you can select to train your dog in the tone-only mode and gradually move onto vibration or static mode if necessary. When in doubt, you can always use the auto-train feature.
- Covers up to 20 acres
- Built for tough conditions
- Seven correction levels
- Auto-train feature
- One-year guarantee
- Not suitable for dogs less than 10 pounds
SportDOG Brand In-Ground Fence System
As a safety measure, the transmitter includes a built-in lightning protector to help avoid damage from power surges or lightning strikes. In case of a break or cut in the wire, it will trigger an alarm.
The collar is 100% waterproof and will fit any dog weighing over 10 pounds. It also has 4 different static correction levels, a tone mode, and a low battery indicator.
On top of that, the system supports an unlimited number of dogs with the purchase of with additional collars.
- Cover up to 100 acres
- Wire break alarm
- Two-year warranty
- Doesn’t fit dogs under 10 pounds
Extreme Dog Fence Second Generation
With this dog fence, you can adapt the package to suit your needs. For example, you can purchase anywhere from 500 up to 2,500 feet of 20-gauge wire and even choose whether you need a system for a single dog or multiple canines.
Overall, you can safely cover up to 25 acres with additional dog fence wire and there are training flags included too.
Easy to set up and even easier to alter, the receiver weighs just over one ounce. As a bonus, you can control the buffer zone between your dog and his boundary to make training easier by avoiding accidental static discharge.
The collar is waterproof and has 8 levels of correction strength, which can be individually programmed for each dog. It also comes with a short-haired and long-haired setting to match your own dog’s needs and will comfortably fit an 8 pounds dog or more.
- Suited for multiple pets
- Can cover up to 25 acres
- Lightweight receiver
- 8 levels of correction
- Not for dogs smaller than 8 pounds
PetSafe Free to Roam Wireless Fence
This wireless fence covers an adjustable circular range up to 1/2 acre in all directions from the transmitter. It’s also extremely portable, so you can set up a contained area for your dog both at home and on the go.
Plus, this fence supports an unlimited number of compatible receiver collars, so you can add as many as you need. This is great for a multi-pet household.
The set up takes less than two hours and doesn’t require any digging or hiding boundary wires, so it’s perfect if you’re leasing a home or on vacation. That way, you can carry the fence with you and install it within an hour wherever there’s an outlet for the transmitter.
The waterproof collar can be adjusted to fit dogs weighing over 5 pounds, with a neck size between 6 to 28 inches. You also have 5 levels of static correction, so you should find the one that suits your dog’s temperament, as well as a tone-only mode that warns your dog right before he crosses over the boundary.
- Controls unlimited pets
- Quick setup
- Suitable for small dogs
- Low battery indicator
- Requires an outlet for the transmitter
PetSafe Pawz Away
This is a pet barrier system that helps you keep your dog away from the garden, pool, furniture, or trash can. The transmitter is disguised as a rock and covers areas up to a 16 feet circular radius. You can also create a custom wired shaped barrier up to 150 feet using the PetSafe boundary wire spool (not included).
All you need to do is set up the transmitter range and place it wherever you don’t want your dog to go. There’s no need for an outlet either (only 4 D batteries).
The collar is lightweight and will fit dogs who weigh as little as 5 pounds, with a neck size between 6 to 28 inches. If you own more than one pet, you can easily add more collars.
Unfortunately, there’s only one level of static correction which increases in intensity over a period of 3 seconds. Depending on your situation, you may need several correction levels, so your dog isn’t under or over-corrected.
Other Pawz Away Kits
- Pawz Away Mini – This kit is great for teaching your dog to stay away from the couch or dinner table or keep your dog away from guests. However, it only covers a small, specific area (up to 5 feet in diameter).
- Pawz Away Indoor – This is another great option to use for keeping your dog away from any furniture, litter boxes, or trash cans inside the home. This kit covers larger areas (up to 12 feet in diameter).
- Pawz Away Threshold – In case you’re trying to keep your dog in or out of a certain room, this is the kit for you. It’s also useful for preventing your dog from using the stairs, if that’s what you’re looking for.
- Answers a specific need
- Lightweight and portable
- No need for an outlet
- Supports additional collars
- Suitable for small dogs
- One option for static correction
PetSafe Wireless Fence Pet Containment System
This wireless fence covers a circular area up to 1/2 acre in all directions and is a great alternative to a traditional in-ground dog fence if you need a simple solution.
It’s also pretty easy to set up. In fact, you can do it in less than 1-2 hours. If you’re a renter or someone who likes to travel with your dog, this fence is a great option. Simply plug in the transmitter, set the contained area for your dog, and you’re done.
By buying additional PetSafe wireless fence receiver collars, you can even add more pets to this fence.
The adjustable collar fits dogs with a neck size between 6 to 28 inches and it’s recommended for pets over 8 pounds. It’s also water-resistant, so your dog can wear it around sprinklers. Plus, there are 5 levels of static correction, along with a tone-only mode for warning and training, as well as a low battery indicator.
- Covers up to 1/2 acre
- Good for travels
- Supports multiple pets
- Has an automatic shut-off
- Doesn’t fit dogs under 8 pounds
- Requires an outlet for the transmitter
PetSafe Stubborn Dog Stay + Play Wireless Fence
This wireless fence manages to cover a circular boundary spanning 3/4 acres around the transmitter. It’s also highly portable and assembly typically takes no more than an hour or two. All you need to do is set the transmitter in the center of your dog’s play area and turn it on.
This is perfect if you’re planning on camping with your dog and need him to stay within a safe zone.
It will also contain as many pets as you like, as long as you’ve got additional and compatible PetSafe wireless receiver collars. Keep in mind, however, that you need to plug the transmitter into an outlet for it to work.
The collar is waterproof and designed to fit dogs who weigh 5 pounds or more, with a neck size between 6 to 28 inches. Additionally, it has 5 levels of higher static correction, as well as a tone-only mode for warning and training.
- Covers up to 3/4 acre
- Supports unlimited pets
- Suitable for small dogs
- Requires an outlet for the transmitter
In-Ground vs Wireless Dog Fence
There are two types of invisible dog fences – in-ground and wireless. But in order 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
Every basic in-ground fence system should come with these parts:
- Fence Transmitter
- Boundary wire
- Receiver collar
- Training flags (optional)
The fence transmitter job is to send a radio signal through the boundary wire, acting as an antenna that carries the message to the receiver collar on your dog. So instead of warning your dog when he gets too far from the transmitter, this fence uses a wire that’s usually hidden underground.
Once your dog gets close to it, the collar gives your dog a correction to let him know that this is where the line is. For example, it produces a warning tone when your dog starts to get too close to one of the edges of the perimeter you set. If he attempts to cross it, the collar will send a low-grade pulse to prevent your him from leaving the yard.
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 fun family activity. You’re also not limited to the radius of the wireless transmitter and you can set your own boundaries.
Wireless Dog Fence
The great thing about a wireless fence system is its portability. Whether you’re a renter or planning on buying a house, this system saves you the hassle of laying an in-ground fence that you’ll just have to take out shortly after. It’s also ideal for taking on trips and vacations since you can set it up and have your dog off leash without worrying that he will wander too far.
A wireless dog fence kit includes a transmitter and a collar. 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 receives a static correction that helps your dog learn to recognize the boundaries you set for him. The maximum wireless boundary will vary depending on the product.
What to Look For in a Dog Fence?
The coverage area of an invisible fence depends on the wireless radius or the length of the wire, so the more boundary wire you have, the more space you can protect. Some fences offer only 1/2 acre, while others can cover up to 100 acres. Keep in mind that most in-ground fences can be extended, while wireless fences are somewhat limited.
Before choosing a dog fence, you need to decide on the area you want to cover. Perhaps even draw the desired perimeter on paper first, then pick the one that meets your needs. In the case of an in-ground system, you can always buy additional wire in case you’ll ever want to increase the scope of the fence.
Obviously, a wireless dog fence is the simplest solution. As the name implies, for an in-ground fence to be invisible, you’ll have to hide the wire in the ground. The payoff is that there’s no limit to its flexibility since you can design the boundaries yourself.
If you know your way around the garden and you’re willing to put in the time and effort, installing an underground fence can be very rewarding. However, keep in mind that some systems can be harder to set up than others.
As a rule of thumb, you should always lay the boundary wire over ground and attach the transmitter to a wall inside an interior location or near an outdoor outlet that’s protected from the weather. Then, 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. Use a spade to make a slit one to three inches deep and lay the wire inside it. Now all you’ve left to do is just place the flags and start training your dog.
Most of the receiver collars come with 4 to 5 correction levels, as well as a tone-only mode. The more correction levels available to you means you can find the best stimulation for your dog’s size and tolerability. Obviously, a toy dog and a large breed dog shouldn’t have the same correction level.
A tone-only mode gives your dog a warning instead of using a shock right away. That way, you can also train him in case you don’t want to use the static feature for some reason and it 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 also need to decide whether you want a rechargeable collar or one that uses batteries.
The advantage to batteries is that they usually last a lot longer, while rechargeable collar lasts typically up to 3 days before you need to recharge it again. Always pay attention to the low battery indicator, since a nonworking collar means that the fence is down.
I should also mention that if you have more than a single pet or you’re planning on getting more, you need to have the option to add more pets to the system by purchasing additional collars.
The last thing you should consider is the collar size. It shouldn’t 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’s neck and look for a product that matches his neck measurement and his weight.
How to Train Your Dog to Use an Invisible Fence?
Even the best invisible fence 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 you don’t mark it somehow, that’s why the flags are there. After a while, you can get rid of the flags, but in the beginning, 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 so he knows where he shouldn’t 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 delicious dog treats when he seems to get the hang of it.
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 that you’re picking the right one for your dog’s size and tolerability.
Unlike regular fence, where a dog can climb, jump or dig underneath it, an electric fence means there’s less chance of him running into the road or messing with your neighbor’s properties. It’s also far better than being confined to a kennel or getting caught by animal control.
Your dog will quickly learn to avoid the static correction, while learning to heed 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 a system that has a tone-only mode collar and use that.
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 exploring a thoughtful gift for dog lovers, an electric fence is the way to go. Plus, it’s a nice little challenge and it doesn’t look that complicated once you understand how it works. Unlike in-ground fence, I believe anyone can set up a wireless system.
Before picking a dog fence, check to be sure that the collar fits your dog weight and neck measurements. Also, ask yourself whether you need the fence for outdoor or indoor use, as well as how much area you need it to cover.
Once the fence is installed, your dog will benefit from getting more exercise and you won’t have to worry about him getting into trouble.