An underground pet fence has become increasingly popular with pet owners around the world as a good, safe, economical alternative to the traditional above ground fence. With a radio wire buried underground, your electric fence is invisible to the landscape and highly effective in protecting your pet. Below ground fence systems have the technology to create a hidden barrier that dogs will not to cross. Many electric fence systems are quick and easy to install and dog training takes only a few minutes a day as you teach your pet that there is an invisible boundary line marked by flags which are placed above the underground wire. Typically, your pet will be trained in a few days to exhibit retreat behavior when nearing the flags giving you peace of mind that you can now safely allow your pet outdoors without fearing that he will escape. An underground system works on this principle. A narrow trench is dug around the perimeter of the area you choose, where a wire will be placed. This, in turn, is connected to a transmitter, which works in tandem with a collar worn around your pet’s neck. Traditionally, if your pet crosses or is approaching the perimeter, the collar gives out a mild noise and this is usually enough to scare him off, but if he does continue ahead, he receives a mild shock. Training is required in order for your pet to actually understand his limits but once your pet is trained, he can roam around freely within a certain perimeter defined by the underground wire. There are different principles on which the stimulus is administered.
1. Progressive Stimulus – This system typically has a tone only warning zone, followed by a mild stimulus zone and finally a high level shock zone very close to the wire. Electronic fences that feature tone only warning zones are a good idea in theory, but if you have an especially astute dog, this type of system often allows the dog to escape because he’ll quickly learn that if he stands in the warning zone long enough, the tone stops (because the collar battery runs down) and he is now free to leave.
2. Run Through Prevention – This system creates zones wherein a low voltage shock is followed by a higher voltage shock. With some dogs this system may work fine, but wiith some dog temperaments, the mild shock can be too little, in which the dog simply ignores the stimulus, or too much, in which case the dog can react with fear, becoming afraid to go outside at all.
3. Pulsed Proportional Stimulus – This is a different approach to the traditional shock technique in the way sound & shock stimulus are administered. Instead of being applied in a continuous correction, they are applied in short, pulses that automatically increase as your dog approaches the boundary. The pulse rate of the stimulus bursts is increased continuously as your dog approaches the boundary wire. The closer your dog moves toward the boundary, the more rapid the pulses become allowing your dog to decide how much stimulus is enough to effect the retreat behavior. This method applies a full voltage shock at the first correction, getting your dog’s attention, but the pulse is so short that he will probably not perceive it as painful. Pulsed Proportional Stimulus reinforces the shock pulse stimulus with sound pulses. Every time the dog receives shock pulse, a loud pulse of sound is also delivered. This sound pulse intensifies the perceived effect of the shock stimulus.
Once you decide which principle you want your fence to conform to, the next factor to consider when purchasing your electronic fence is the quality of all the basic elements making up the system. General system dependability, transmitter, wire gauge, and collar batteries are important basics and can make the difference between having a fence that’s a joy to own or one that makes you cringe each day, wondering what repair you’ll have to make. Research is important because different pet companies offer radically different fences.
The transmitter is a major element of your fence package so you want a system that includes a sturdy transmitter. There have been reports of transmitters chirping for no apparent reason, malfunctioning, or even blowing up. Some transmitters have to be installed inside the home, others are fully waterproof, allowing you to install them outside. The transmitter is the backbone of your system, so this is one of the most important areas of consideration
Wire gauge can make or break a system. If you purchase a fence with light gauge wire, chances are it will develop a nick or break before too long. Consider the labor of digging up your yard perimeter to try and find the defect. It isn’t something most would want to undertake. There are boundary wire break locators sold but it is reported that the wire usually has to be broken completely through in order for the locator to pinpoint the break. So if you only have a nick in one or more places, the wire locator will be fairly useless in locating that. An 18-gauge wire is what you want and if the company does not state the wire gauge, it may be inferior. Ask questions and make sure the gauge is ample before purchasing.
Collar batteries are offered in regular or rechargeable varieties. Rechargeable batteries are a very nice feature, eliminating the necessity of buying batteries every time they run down. If you do decide to go with a system that uses regular collar batteries, you might want to make sure that the system uses batteries that last a good while and are not prohibitively expensive, especially if you have more than one dog.
After determining that all the basic elements meet these standards, decide on the special features you’d like to have. You can purchase a system with a self charging battery back-up, wire break alarm, external training speakers, and even a system with a radio collar that works with multiple pet items such as electronic pet doors. The external speakers can greatly aid in training your dog to the system and a multi-tasking collar is a very nice feature that allows you to run 2 or more electronic pet apparatuses with one pet collar.
If you consider all these elements before purchasing your electronic fence, chances are the result will be a fence system that you’re happy with for several years.