If you have dogs at home, with the joy they bring comes a bundle of pain…
Firstly, you’ll need to contend with all the hair and dander they kick up. This is especially important if you have anyone at home with allergies. Pop back soon as we’ll be outlining the best vacuums and air purifiers to help you out after we’ve explored the best electric dog fence system.
With the hair taken care of, you have the headache of training…
If your dog won’t seem to stop barking, you can use a variety of training collars in combination with positive reinforcement to help them see the error of their ways. Choose from many different bark collars depending on the temperament of your dog.
It doesn’t end there, though.
How about when your dogs are outside in the yard? If they’re anything like ours, they’ll be looking to escape at any opportunity.
So, unless you want to spend your time continuously monitoring your dogs, what can you do about it?
Luckily, there are a range of options at your disposal if you want to contain your furballs in the garden and that’s what we’re here to bring you today.
We’ll be bring you the very best in-ground and above-ground fences so you can use the most appropriate containment system for your budget and the size of your garden.
We’re going to kick off with a concise buying guide to help you find the best dog fence the easy way. Before that, a quick glimpse at the key benefits of the models we’ll be reviewing…
I. Our Picks for Electric Dog Fences
|Products & Features||Image & Price|
Best In-Ground Dog Fence: SportDOG In-Ground Fence Our #1 Pick
Best Wireless Dog Fence: Pet Safe Invisible Fence Our #1 Pick
Extreme Dog Fence Kit (In-Ground)
Pet Safe Above-Ground Electric Fence (Wireless)
Pet Safe YardMax Underground Pet Barrier (In-Ground)
Pet Safe Elite In-Ground Fence (In-Ground)
Pet Safe Above-Ground Electric Fence (Wireless)
Pet Safe Stubborn Dog In-Ground Fence (In-Ground)
Sit Boo-Boo In-Ground and Above-Ground Pet Containment System (In-Ground)
II. What Kind of Electric Dog Fences Are There?
Does your pup keep running away at any opportunity?
Do you spend half your morning trying to retrieve your dog from your neighbors two doors down?
Are you terrified your dog will run under a car or get shot running through a field?
If your answer’s yes, it looks like you need an electric dog fence. An electronic dog fence creates an invisible boundary so that your dog can roam the property wherever he wants but will stop him escaping.
There are two main types of fence:
- Wireless Dog Fence
- In-Ground Dog Fence (Underground or Invisible Fence)
1. Wireless Dog Fence
An electronic dog fence can help keep your dog safe and secure.
If you don’t have space, time or budget to build a normal fence, a wireless dog fence is simple and easy to install.
If you’re out camping with your pup, wireless fences are ideal to keep your dog from running after the yummy squirrels.
How Does A Wireless Fence System Work?
A wireless fence system works through a transmitter, which transmits a radio signal at a certain radius. It works by plugging the transmitter into a power supply in the area where you want to contain pup.
The transmitter communicates with a receiver on your dog’s collar. If your dog tries to cross the boundary, he’ll receive a mild electrical shock. Don’t worry, you won’t fry him and it’s completely safe. The shock is just like the static you get when you touch something.
Wireless dog fences are great if:
- You don’t want to dig up your garden for an in-ground electronic dog fence
- You can’t or don’t want to build a normal wooden or metal fence
- You don’t want to block the view of features in the garden such as a pool or a gardening patch
- You want something easy to use
- It can be used in conjunction with normal fences if you just want to prevent them from digging up your potatoes
- You want a portable containment system for camping
- You’re not leaving them unattended outside
2. In-Ground Dog Fence (Underground or Invisible Dog Fence)
In-ground fences offer a more permanent solution to contain your furry escape artist if you can’t install a physical fence.
They’re also great if you don’t want to restrict your dog to a leash.
In-ground dog fences are also referred to as underground dog fences or invisible dog fences. This type of fence allows your dog to roam within a safe boundary.
How Do In-Ground Dog Fences Work?
Underground dog fence systems use a durable wire to transmit a radio signal to an electronic collar.
When your dog approaches the boundary, the transmitter emits a gentle static shock. Dogs learn quickly to stay in the designated area.
You can install an in-ground dog fence quite easily as a weekend project. You can create a boundary in any shape you like. And you can customize your fence to your landscaping design.
Once you’ve installed the fence it’s a good idea to start with flags placed around the boundary as visual cues so that your pup gets to know where the fence is.
Once he knows the new boundaries, you can remove the flags.
Wired underground dog fence systems allow you to create several exclusion zones in your garden so your pup doesn’t end up in a landscaped area or a pool. Wired in-ground dog fences are great for large areas as you can go as large as you wish. Wireless dog fences only reach roughly three-quarters of an acre.
III. Things You Should Consider When Buying an Electric Dog Fence System
Normal wooden fences are the best way to contain your dog, but when it’s not possible electronic fences come a close second.
Here are a few things you should think about when you’re on the buying trail:
- The Shape of Your Garden
- Your Dog
- Other Dogs
- Installation of Your Electronic Fence
- Location of Electronic Dog Fence
The Shape of Your Garden
Electronic dog fences are ideal for awkwardly-shaped gardens. If you have a large, misshapen garden with features such as rock garden or vegetable patch, an underground dog fence will give you flexibility.
Also, if you live in an apartment block or condo that doesn’t allow fences, electronic fences are a great solution to stop your dog from running off after pigeons or squirrels.
If your dog is a high jump champ as well as an escape artist, maybe you’re tired of him jumping over and escaping to the neighbors down the road. An electronic dog fence will work no matter how high he jumps.
It’s important to remember that other animals and dogs are able to cross the fence and onto your property. Your dog may be safe in the yard, but it doesn’t prevent another animal from coming in.
With electronic fence systems, you still have to keep an eye on your dog. You can’t just set up and forget about him. You need to stay with them so you don’t just let them outside and forget about them.
Installation of Your Electronic Dog Fence
If you’re installing an in-ground dog fence by yourself be prepared to put in some elbow grease. Digging ground to bury the wires is extremely time-consuming and exhausting.
You can always hire a professional to do it for you though. You can also run the wire over the ground instead, and secure them with staples that you can buy separately.
If you do hire a professional electronic dog fence company to install your fence, they can make sure that there are no gaps that your dog can shoot through.
Location of Electronic Dog Fence
It’s essential to remember though that you don’t install your fence right to the edge of the garden by a pavement or road: that’s a recipe for disaster!
Dogs can tend to become quite territorial and start barking and lunging at passersby. As cyclists, pedestrians and cars go by dogs can develop bad behaviors. That’s not a good look for you in your neighborhood!
So remember to install your fence at least 10 feet away from the perimeter of your garden. The buffer zone between the fence and the road is critical to preventing unwanted behaviors.
Your budget will likely determine which type of electronic dog fence you choose. Typically, wireless dog fences are cheaper than underground dog fences. Wireless dog fences don’t require much time or cost to install, you just plug it in.
Invisible dog fences, however, require accessories such as staples, wiring, voltage meter, charger, and batteries. You may also prefer to hire a professional to install your invisible dog fence, which will push the price up significantly.
With those basics in place, it’s time for the main event and our collection of the best electric dog fence system…
IV. The 9 Best Electric Dog Fence System Reviews
1. Our Pick – Best In-Ground Dog Fence: SportDOG In-Ground Fence
First up, our overall pick for the best in-ground dog fences comes from SportDOG, an industry heavyweight with a reputation for producing quality equipment at a reasonable price point. This invisible fence continues that winning tradition.
If you have several dogs at home, you can save money by buying extra collars individually. The collar comes with a rechargeable battery delivering up to 1 month of runtime. This is fully waterproof so your dog is protected in all winds and weathers.
You can train your canines using multiple levels of static correction. If you don’t like the idea of shocking your furball, use vibration or ultrasonic sound instead.
With 1000 feet of wire thrown in along with the requisite training flags, you have everything you need to get started right out the box.
As with all containment fences, you should go into this purchase with your eyes wide open. You’ll need to set aside some time for installation. You also need to factor in a training period when you’ll be on the ground to guide your dog and show them the new boundaries in place. Do this and you’ll be confident that your dogs can roam in the yard without heading off down the road.
Pros: Keep unlimited dogs contained with extra collars. Ramp up from beeps and vibration to static shock. US-based customer care. Lightning surge protection baked in. 1000 feet of wire and 100 flags thrown in.
Cons: Reasonably intensive training period required so make sure you have the time to devote to this.
Bottom Line: If you’re prepared to put in a little effort, this hard-hitting containment system is one of the strongest options at your disposal.
2. Our Pick – Best Wireless Dog Fence: Pet Safe Invisible Fence
Pet Safe is the parent company of the Invisible Fence brand and this is yet another fine example from this deep bench.
Giving enough coverage for a 1/2-acre space, this fence should serve you well if you’ve got a larger yard and several pets prone to roaming. All you’ll need to do is add more collars which you can buy separately and you can keep your whole menagerie contained.
The collars come waterproofed so you have nothing to worry about. Fueled by a rechargeable battery, you can expect more than a month of runtime before this needs a jolt of charge.
A versatile collar, this fits dogs from 8 pounds and up with neck sizes from 6 through 28 inches.
A regular in-ground fence will zap your pooch when he returns home as well as when he escapes. Avoid this with the static-free re-entry in place on this wireless model.
You won’t need to mess around with involved set-up, either. Everything you need is thrown in and you can get started training immediately. As with all containment systems, you should invest the time into training your dog so he’ll soon be safely kept within your boundaries for fear of correction.
Pros: Easy to set up and get going right out the box. UP to ½ acre of coverage ideal for larger gardens. No need to bury any wires. Your pet can return home static-free.
Cons: A few issues with problems developing over time reported.
Bottom Line: If you want to secure a large outdoor area, this invisible fence from an industry giant is well worth popping on your shortlist.
3. In-Ground: Extreme Dog Fence Kit
Next up we’ve got a solid in-ground model from Extreme Dog Food but is it any good?
To kick off, you’ll get enormous potential coverage of up to 6 acres making this the ideal choice even if you have a huge garden. Multiple systems are available giving you the ability to contain up to 5 dogs.
This second iteration of the iconic kit comes with overhauled electronics and an enhanced collar.
The collar is lightweight yet still deceptively rugged. The system checks for battery level every couple hours so you shouldn’t get caught short.
Also waterproof and completely submersible, your dog can wander in any weather conditions without compromising the containment system.
One thing you should be aware of is that you’ll need to use proprietary batteries keeping you locked in. Factor the cost of these into budgeting.
The fence comes with a 1-year warranty as standard. As soon as you register the fence, this is extended to 5 years giving you complete peace of mind.
Fences are made in the US and American-based customer care means you’re amply supported every step of the way.
Pros: Choose from a number of bundles to suit your circumstances. Offers coverage of spaces up to 6 acres so ideal for sprawling gardens or farms. Waterproof and fully submersible. Everything you need thrown in.
Cons: Proprietary batteries and these don’t last as long as claimed so factor the cost of these into your budget.
Bottom Line: These kits from Extreme Dog Fence give you the chance to tailor containment to the size of your property perfectly while also giving you the option of containing multiple dogs.
4. Wireless: Pet Safe Above-Ground Electric Fence
Do you have a larger garden and a number of dogs that need containing? Get the job done on the cheap with this fantastic above-ground solution.
Due to the super-portable nature of the set-up, this fence makes a neat fit if you’re camping or out in the RV.
The wireless nature also makes installation a cinch and won’t send you digging up the garden to bury wires. You should allow roughly 2 hours to get things going then you can start training your furballs at once.
Your dog will be corrected through multiple progressive levels of static shock. You can disengage shock correction if you prefer a more humane and less direct approach. Instead, you’ll use ultrasonic beeps to dissuade your pooch from wandering.
Some fences zap your dog when he returns home but with this model, he can return to the fold without being shocked so he isn’t reluctant to head back inside.
The only minor niggle with this otherwise exceptional fence is an annoying sound that emits at the highest setting. In all other respects, you get impeccable performance married to unrivalled value.
Pros: Compact and portable solution. No need to hide wires. Multiple levels of progressive static correction. Opt for tone-only mode for a more humane approach. Waterproof and rechargeable collar. Reliable build as you’d expect from Pet Safe.
Cons: An annoying buzzing sound can manifest on the highest setting.
Bottom Line: This above-ground fence is a portable solution that would work equally as well when you’re camping or out in the RV as it does in the garden at home.
5. In-Ground: Pet Safe YardMax Underground Pet Barrier
The Pet Safe YardMax is ideal if you have a small or mid-sized garden up to 1/3 acre. The complete kit comes with absolutely everything you need to train your dogs to respect boundaries.
The standard correction method is static correction. This administer a static shock to your dog roughly comparable to the shocks you get yourself from time to time. If you dislike the idea of this form of correction, you can deactivate the static shock in favor of tone-only correction. You’ll need to see whether or not your dog responds to this gentler approach.
There’s no limit to the number of pets you can keep safe and sound with this fence. To minimize your costs, you can do this by using the same receiver and extra collars which are available separately without breaking the bank.
If forced to draw attention to a flaw, we’d have to say the lack of manual override is an annoyance we’d like to see remedied in future iterations.
In most respects, though, this is a no-nonsense and highly efficient way of keeping your dogs in the garden without constantly supervising them.
Pros: Great for medium-sized and smaller yards to 1/3 acre. Multiple levels of static correction to help train your dog to stay inside. Static-free return home. Waterproof and rechargeable collar ideal for dogs with neck sizes from 6 to 28 inches. Several other sizings and configurations available.
Cons: No method of manually overriding correction which is a disappointment.
Bottom Line: Choose from a range of sizes and set-ups to contain dogs in garden up to 1/3 acre with this superb underground solution from the legendary Pet Safe.
6. In-Ground: Pet Safe Elite In-Ground Fence
Pet Safe dominate this vertical and you can find something whatever your circumstances and whatever the size of your garden.
Do you have a yard up to 1/3 acre? If so, you can keep all your dogs away from harm by using extra collars to contain them by the system.
For anyone with larger spaces to contend with, you can buy additional wire and expand this modular system over an area of 25 acres. That should be enough for absolutely everybody.
The collars are waterproof and reflective for use around the clock in all conditions. They’re comfy and relatively lightweight as well as completely adjustable. Take the time when you’re setting up to get the fit exactly right. Also, keep a close eye on the skin surrounding the collar and make sure the prongs are always clean and disinfected.
4 levels of progressive correction administer increasingly sharp static shocks. While not painful, they should be uncomfortable enough to stop your dog from straying.
Pros: Unbeatable brand heritage. Contain as many dogs as you want by adding extra collars. Several levels of static correction or the option of using tone only. Reflective collar is waterproof and fully adjustable. Up to 1/3 acre of coverage.
Cons: Installation is reasonably involved so pack plenty of patience.
Bottom Line: If you’re prepared to invest a little time in set-up, this robust fence works well for containing multiple dogs on a budget.
7. Wireless: Pet Safe Above-Ground Electric Fence
For households with multiple pets, this Pet Safe above-ground containment system is an absolute must. What makes it so good, then?
You’ll be free to choose between correcting your pooch using ultrasonic beeps inaudible to the human ear or with static correction. This gives you the chance to road test a completely humane strategy but fall back upon more robust correction if necessary.
The rechargeable batteries return up to 2 months of runtime giving you a hassle-free experience every step of the way.
This fence is easy to slip in the RV or to take to the campsite if you want to give your dogs a taste of the wild without allowing them to roam off too far.
Don’t be fooled by the marketing hype here. While the manufacturer claims this fence works well with cats, the collar is too bulky and we really would not advise using this fence for felines.
Pros: Flexible correction with static shock or tone. Add more collars to contain multiple pets. Get up to 2 months of battery life on a single charge. Portable nature of fence means it works well as a travel solution.
Cons: Doesn’t work well with cats despite the way the fence is marketed.
Bottom Line: Keep all your dogs safely contained without needing to dig deep or bury any wires in the garden with this above-ground gem from the stellar Pet Safe.
8. In-Ground: Pet Safe Stubborn Dog In-Ground Fence
As we near the end of our quest for the best electric dog fence system, yet another model from Pet Safe with this fence expressly designed to stop stubborn and willful dogs from wandering afar.
You’ll be able to contain your pooches within areas up to 1/3 acre so it’s an ideal solution for small or mid-sized yards. You’ll get 500 feet of wire included that’s up to the job. If you want further coverage, you can expand the system to a huge 25 acres if you buy the requisite wire.
As an in-ground model, you’ll need to set aside a chunk of time to get things set up. All that wire needs burying. If this is not a job you feel up to yourself, be sure to factor in the cost of professional installation.
If you have an especially large breed, they might find even the highest setting doesn’t provide them with enough incentive not to stray. For most dogs, though, even those typically resistant to correction, this fence should keep them where you want them.
Pros: The ideal solution for feisty and stubborn dogs. Multiple configurations to choose from. 1/3 acre of coverage so works well with smaller yards. Comprehensive kit with everything you need bundled.
Cons: Larger dogs might shrug off even the highest setting.
Bottom Line: For a great and highly versatile containment system from a brand you can rely on, this 1/3-acre model is tailor-made for your smaller yard.
9. In-Ground: Sit Boo-Boo In-Ground and Above-Ground Pet Containment System
Last but certainly not least, the memorably-named Sit Boo-Boo fence is a complete containment system at a particularly keen price point that deserves a place on any shortlist. How does this fence stand out in a glutted field?
Well, with 7 levels of static correction, you’ll get more latitude than you’ll find with competing collars. This gives you a little extra scope if your dog doesn’t respond to gentle correction.
If, on the other hand, you’re not inclined to give your dog a jolt of static, use a pulsing vibration or ultrasonic beep instead. Find what works best and stick with it.
Completely waterproofed and designed to work in hostile conditions, you’ve got an all-weather training aid giving your dog just enough freedom while presenting him with clear boundaries.
If anything goes amiss during the first year of purchase, the manufacturer will give you a no-quibbles replacement. This removes any reason not to buy so what are you waiting for?
Pros: Support for unlimited collars so ideal for homes with multiple pets. 7 levels of static correction should discourage even stubborn dogs from wandering. Solid copper core wire. Use tone and vibration instead of static shock if you prefer more humane correction. 1-year replacement guarantee for complete peace of mind.
Cons: Collars are great quality but build elsewhere could be improved.
Bottom Line: Sit Boo-Boo serves up coverage for multiple dogs with up to 7 levels of correction or choose to use tone or vibration instead.
1) Do wireless dog fences work?
Yes, they do work as long as they are set up properly. Make sure there are no gaps or large metal objects interfering with any large metal objects in the home. Also, remember that just having an electronic fence doesn’t mean you can just leave your pooches to roam. Your dog could ignore the electric shock if something interests him enough and he goes running off. When he comes back, he might not be able to get back in as his collar will set off the electric shock. Dogs still need mental and physical stimulation. Electronic fences are great but dogs still need daily walks and bonding sessions with you and your family so that they burn off energy and have a great life.
2) How far will an electronic dog fence work?
A wireless dog fence will work between half an acre and a three-quarter acre radius, which is roughly 2000 to 3000 meters squared. The transmitter is plugged into a power supply in your home. When switched on your pup should stay within the radius of the boundary transmission. If you’re going with an underground electronic fence system you can go as far as you like, even if you have a big country estate. But the larger the area, the costlier it’ll be. Installing an underground fence will mean digging up a lot of dirt so you can bury the wires, so you’ll need to factor that in. If it seems a bit overwhelming, it’s probably best to hire a professional.
3) Can I use an electronic fence with a puppy?
It’s not advisable to use an electronic fence with a dog under 6 months of age. It’s best to wait at least 6 months, or even longer if possible. Your puppy must be mature enough to understand and obey commands. If he doesn’t, you’ll have a hard time getting him to learn from the static shocks on his collar. The last thing you want is to find he’s absconded to play in the road. You don’t want to install an electronic dog fence until your dog is fully trained to retrieve, sit, heel, down, stay, and leave.
4) My garden is in an awkward shape, should I get a wireless or in-ground electronic dog fence?
If you have a large garden with complex landscaping, the landscaping can block the signal from the circular radio signal. The radio signal will still stay constant but it will go around the obstruction. You may find that the circular radius of the boundary is restrictive for your dog if you have a large narrow garden. He won’t be able to run the full length of the garden. Wireless fences are best for flat gardens without too many irregularities. For a more unusual and landscaped garden, you’d probably be better off with an underground electronic dog fence. It means you give your dog maximum ability to roam, provided it’s placed at least 10 feet from the garden boundary.
5) What can affect the signal strength of a wireless dog fence?
Any heavy metal objects inside or outside your home such as an air conditioning unit, refrigerator, stove, metal cupboard, or electrical junction box can affect the signal of your electronic dog fence. Ensure the bases are located 3 feet minimum from any large metal objects. Thick concrete or stone walls can also compromise the signal. Signal interference will compromise the boundary accuracy so the dog will receive a shock when it’s not near. This may make your dog nervous about going outside. Thick trees between your transmitter and the boundary can also interfere with the signal, although it shouldn’t be a real problem unless your property is thick with trees and branches. Also be conscious of any other big objects that may compromise the signal such as vehicles, garages, trash cans, and anything that can obstruct the signal.
6) Will an electronic dog fence hurt my dog?
An electronic fence will only produce a very mild electrical shock. It can’t hurt them, it just feels like a tiny ping, just like when you touch static. All the shock does is surprise them and grab their attention. E-collars are powered by small batteries so the size of the shock is minimal. Most receiver collars do have different settings, so you can adjust the strength of the correction. This type of collar is totally safe and they are recommended in the dog product industry. If you’re unsure, try testing it your arm.
7) How much do electronic fence systems cost?
Wireless electronic dog fence systems cost from $100 to $350, and they usually come with remote control, a bundle of flags to train the dog and one collar. If you use a professional to install your fence you may also pay them to train your dog. Installation and training can push the price up an additional $2000. But, if you’re happy digging the ground and burying the wires you can pay around $300 to $400 dollars. The quality of the kit you decide to use will influence the cost. Higher-end underground systems can cost as much as $1500. The more expensive systems are often more accurate though. Cheaper systems can tend to be inaccurate sometimes and send a correction shock when the dog’s nowhere near the boundary. If you can afford it, it’s worth going for the higher end of the market for peace of mind. Professional installation will also ensure that you don’t make any mistakes.
8) Can I use it with multiple dogs?
Most electronic dog fences do allow you to use the fence with multiple dogs. But, they must all wear an e-collar that is programmed to work with the transmitter. If you are using an electronic fence for multiple dogs, you’ll need more correction modes so you’ll need to spend more on e-collars. E-collars range from around $40 to $150. It’s advisable to go for the higher-end models for multiple dogs. They’ll have higher accuracy levels so your dogs don’t get shocked accidentally. They’ll also have more training modes so you can tailor collars to each dog’s responsiveness.
9) How do e-collars work?
E-collars are simple to use. They have two metal prongs which sit on the dog’s skin. Some come with longer prongs for long-haired dogs like German Shepherds. There’s a button you press to turn the collar on when he wants to go outside. The power button is usually situated on the inside of the collar so it can’t be switched off accidentally when your dog is out. Some e-collars come with a remote control that allows you to change the levels of stimulation from the collar. These often allow you to change the type of stimulation, starting with a beep, a vibration, and if that doesn’t work you can transmit a mild shock.
You will only need to shock them once or twice before they get the message, you can then turn it down to the vibration setting. To let you know how much battery is left on e-collars usually have a small light that shines green until the battery power gets low, then it turns red. Batteries are rechargeable so you just plug them in to charge.
10) Will I need to train my dog to use an electronic fence system?
Remote controls that come with electronic fence systems have three training modes: beep first, vibrate second, and static correction third. So when your dog gets within a few yards of where the boundary line is the collar will first make a beep. If the dog doesn’t respond you can change the training mode to vibrate. If he crosses the boundary, the collar will issue a shock. All electronic fence systems come with boundary flags which you put in the ground to show your dog the line where the correction starts. After a time, you can do away with the flags once the dog has learned where the boundary is. The dog will eventually learn to not cross the boundary. The collar will beep first as a warning, then when the dog crosses it’ll issue a shock. If you’re training the dog yourself, start by walking near the perimeter with the dog on a lead. Spend some time having fun playing with a ball and some treats. As he gets close to the boundary, he’ll start to become familiar with the warning beeps. When he crosses the line and receives a shock. When he crosses the line, pull him back in the direction where he needs to go. He’ll get the idea after a couple or a few shocks, then he hangs back when the warning beep goes off.
Well, you should now be in the perfect position to find the best electric dog fence system the easy way.
Pay attention to our buying guide and you’ll see exactly what to look out for on the buying trail. Our exploration of the different types of fences should leave you well-placed to find the most appropriate containment system.
Before you go, don’t forget to bookmark Meet Your Dog. We’re a young site but we’re hard at work building this site into what we hope will be your go-to resource for all things canine. See you soon!