If you have a dog, it makes sense that you’d want to have a place where your dog can run and play. Unfortunately, though, not everyone who has a detached home has the ability to put in a fence. For some, it’s a matter of scale— huge backyards can be incredibly expensive to fence in, after all, and spending that kind of money won’t make sense for everyone. For others, though, it might be a matter of practicality. Not every backyard is designed to be fenced in, and even those who might have the ability to do so might not want to put in a fence that might interrupt their work or their enjoyment of their property.
Fortunately, an invisible fence, or wireless fence, can be an incredibly useful alternative for many. Essentially an underground wire that sets up a boundary used by a collar, these fences are perfect for those who have the ability to put them in. The hardest part for most, though, is installation.
While it’s certainly possible to get an invisible fence installed on your property, doing so can be quite expensive. At around two dollars afoot, this installation process is costly when you remember that you’re still paying for the fence itself on top of the installation. As such, it does make sense to at least consider learning how to install one of these fences yourself.
The good news is that this isn’t necessarily the hardest process in the world. You’ll need a few tools, plenty of time, and the willingness to put in some physical labor, but you’d be surprised by how little it actually takes to install one of these fences.
How to Install an Invisible Fence
Starting with Materials
As with any type of project, you’re going to want to start by gathering together all of your various tools and materials. The good news is that the most expensive necessary bit of material is the invisible dog fence product that you have likely already purchased. In addition to that, you’ll want to make sure that you have a sizable measuring tape, enough 18-gauge wire and PVC conduit to lay your product, a good shovel, a wooden paint stirrer, and some outdoor flags to mark your fence.
There are also a few extra products that often make sense to have on-hand if you have the ability to grab them. A cut-off saw can be nice for some of the work, as is driveway sealant. Any kind of digging apparatus that can make the physical digging go by more quickly is also helpful, but you’d be surprised by how much you can get done with a simple shovel.
Measure and Mark Your Property
Now that you’re ready to start work, you’re going to need to know exactly how big your invisible pet fence will really need to be. The way to do this is by measuring the perimeter of your property. A large tape measurer is the usual tool of choice here, though there are tools specifically designed for marking off outdoor boundaries. Regardless of what you use, you’ll simply measure as you walk the boundaries of your future invisible dog fence.
There are, of course, more complex ways to mark off your property boundaries if you’re looking to create a more elaborate fencing setup. If you have a pool, for example, you may want to measure from the edge of your fence to the pool, mark off that edge, and then all the way around the pool again for another mark. This will allow you to create an area that you can carve out for your dog to walk through without tripping the fence, but you’ll still be able to ensure that your dog can’t get past your designated point.
Now that you’ve got your perimeter measured, you can go out and buy your wire. Wire tends to come in bundles that range from two-hundred-fifty feet to fifteen hundred feet, so try to do some simple math to figure out exactly what you’ll need before you move forward.
Testing Out Your Wires
Most invisible pet fence comes with a fifteen-gauge wire. While this is absolutely enough to let you put together a fence, it’s generally recommended that you upgrade your wiring to 18-gauge wire. While this is an extra cost, this is one that will still pay off in the long run. 18-gauge wire is tougher, which means that it’s less likely to get damaged by any kind of underground animals that might get on your property.
If you’re a first-time user of invisible dog fences, this next bit might be the scariest part of your build. You’ll take both ends of your wire and hook them both into your electrical box. If you can hear the tell-tale beep or zap of electricity, you’ve got a good boundary wire. If not, there’s some kind of damage present that needs to be addressed before you can start installing your fence.
Dealing with Driveways
One of the tougher parts of installing an invisible dog fence will occur if you’re trying to install the fencing across a traditional driveway. If you’re just installing your fence in the backyard, you’re in luck – you get to skip this step entirely. If not, you’ll need to go ahead and get ahold of a cut-off saw so that you can cut a channel for your fence.
While this might seem like a big job, it’s something that can be done by just about anyone who is patient enough to follow the necessary steps. You’ll want to start about by scoring or notching the top layer of your driveway and then checking to make sure that you have enough room to lay your wire in the resulting trench. Once you have your preferred length, you’ll run your saw over the trench a few times until you’ve got a trench deep enough for your wire to sit about an inch below the surface. From here, you’ll bury the wire and then apply a bit of asphalt sealant to cover up the crack and get your driveway back into working order.
If you’re not comfortable with this step, you can absolutely hire someone to cut a trench for you. The job shouldn’t take too long, but getting someone out to do the work can be costly. Still, it’s always better to outsource the job if you’re not confident in your own ability to do the job correctly.
Burying Your Wire
Now you’re up to the exhausting part of the installation process. Though what you’re doing now is simple, it’s going to take quite a bit of time if you’re not willing to go out and rent a trenching tool. This is a job that can absolutely be done in a single afternoon by someone who is just working with a simple shovel, though, and getting some friends together to do this step can make it go by much more quickly.
The easiest way to do this job is to have two people working at the same time. Have one person with the wire, ready to unroll it as you go. The other person should have the shovel and start digging a trench along the lines that you had already marked out when you were measuring. As a rule, you really only need to get this wire just below the surface but you’ll be able to better protect the wire if you’re willing to go a few inches deep. As the digger digs, the other person should follow behind laying the wire in the trench and burying it as he or she goes along.
Again, it’s usually better to go deeper where you can. If you can grab a simple paint stirring stick, you can push the wire down into the trench and quickly cover it up in most areas. This might not be the preferred use for such a tool, but the wooden stick will actually help you to tamp down the wire without causing any damage. If you’re looking to keep your wire a little closer to the surface, you can actually keep it still by using landscaping staples. In either case, you’ll want to mark off where your wires are located with flags as you go, dropping a flag about once every ten feet so that you can keep an eye on your lines.
Dealing with Exposed Wires
So, what do you do if some of your wires are still exposed? It’s going to happen, of course, whether it’s because of the landscape of your yard or simply because some of the wire is going to have to come out of the ground to get plugged in. If you’re really looking to keep things as safe as possible from pests and pets alike, you’ll want to grab a bit of PVC conduit piping through which you can run your wires. This will keep the wire safe, keep everyone in your household safe from the wire, and it will honestly look much better than having an exposed wire running up your walls.
Time for Set-Up
Congratulations – you’ve got an invisible dog fence installed. Now it’s time for you to read the directions that came with your invisible dog fence product in order to figure out how to properly set up the collar for your pet. This should be an easy process, one that’s made far easier for those who did the tough work of laying the fence before they started working with the collar.
While there are some pet owners who believe that a bit of trial and error is all that’s necessary in training your dog to learn how to use an invisible fence, the truth is that you should take the time to familiarize your pet with the fence and to make yourself comfortable with how it works. There are many different ways to train your pet to use an invisible fence, some of which are better for specific pet owners than others. Regardless of which you choose, well-trained pets are able to adapt more quickly and will allow you to feel a bit safer when you let them roam around within their new boundaries.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can you install an invisible fence yourself?
Yes, you can install an invisible fence yourself. As long as you are willing to do a little bit of physical labor, you’ll be able to not only install the fence fairly quickly but you’ll be able to avoid the costs that are associated with having it professionally installed for you. You will need a few basic tools and the ability to dig a trench that’s as long as your fencing, but beyond that, the job is fairly straightforward.
2. How deep should the invisible fence be buried?
You honestly only need to bury your invisible fence an inch or two below the surface. While you should definitely follow any directions that come with your invisible fence product, it’s important to remember that you can keep your wiring safe just by making sure that it’s deep enough under the ground that it can’t be easily accessed by any animals that are in your yard. With that said, it’s generally best to go a little deeper if only to protect the wire from the elements.
3. How much does it cost to install an invisible fence?
The truth is that the cost of installing an invisible fence is largely going to depend on the price of your fencing product, the tools that you have on hand, and whether or not you do the job yourself. A professionally installed fence will generally cost you about two dollars per foot, not including the price of the fencing unit itself. If you do the job on your own, the cost may only include buying the invisible fence and paying for any tools that you don’t already own.
4. What is the easiest way to install an underground dog fence?
The easiest way to install an underground dog fence is to buy a kit that already has a good 18-gauge wire and to rent a trenching tool from a hardware store. This will allow you to dig out a trench quickly and to install the fence right out of the box. If you can avoid putting the fence in any area that’s going to require you to cut through concrete or to cut out specific ‘islands’ for your dog to walkthrough, you’ll actually be able to get this job done with few problems. As always, though, the size of the yard and your own physical ability will play a huge role in how tough this job will be to accomplish.