Easy Do It Yourself: Wireless Fences (FULL HOW TO GUIDE)

Wireless fences are fantastic for containing dogs in smaller urban and suburban yards as there is no wire to be installed. But, you may be wondering, can you do it yourself?

You can install a wireless fence yourself, and it’s relatively simple.

While there are some considerations to keep in mind, a wireless fence is arguably much easier to install than alternative pet fences.

If you’re looking to set up a wireless fence yourself, you may not know where to start.

You may also be wondering if it’s the right option for you, and how it compares to other options.

Do it Yourself Wireless Fences

dogs playing inside an invisible fence
A wireless fence casts a circular perimeter with the transmitter unit at the center.

If you’re wondering if you can make a wireless fence to contain your dog at home, our answer is not likely.

A wireless dog fence uses a radio transmitter and collar receiver to make an invisible perimeter.

However, if you’re wondering if you can install a wireless fence on your own, you absolutely can! Wireless dog fences are easy to install with just one helper.

Despite the limitations of wireless dog fencing, it’s a favorite for homeowners because it can be set up in just an hour or two.

You’ll set up the transmitter in the middle of your desired fenced area, pair it with the receiver collar, get a helper to help you adjust the fenceline, then place flags and train your dog to stay inside.

Install the Wireless Fence Transmitter

The transmitter is really easy to install, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you plug it in.

For the transmitter to be most effective, ensure there aren’t any obstructions that will impact the signal.

Obstructions that can affect the transmitter include, but are not limited to: 

  • Metal appliances
  • Cars
  • Metal sheds
  • Thick brick, or concrete walls

You should also consider the layout of your yard, and how much area you need to cover.

Most wireless fences cover about 1/2 to 3/4 acre. If you need to cover more than that you’ll have to learn about invisible fence expanding.

Additionally, if your yard is sloped or uneven, setup can be a bit tedious, but it’s still possible.

A very hilly or highly sloped yard can be hard to completely cover with a wireless fence.

Also keep in mind that a shed in the yard can disrupt the signal leaving a dead space behind it.

Double-check those areas and add additional barriers as needed to keep your dog in.

Haven’t purchased a wireless fence yet? Here is our take on the best wireless fences!

How to Locate the Wireless Fence Transmitter Box

2 dogs inside a wireless fence
To make it an effective dog fence, make sure the transmitter is in the proper location.

Your first step is to find a location for the transmitter. The transmitter will be the center of the fence. It casts a circular radio signal that sets the perimeter.

For ideal effectiveness here is how to set up the transmitter:

  • First Floor – The transmitter should be ground level.
  • Near the Ground – Mount the transmitter about 2 or 3 feet off the ground. Get it as close to the same plane as the ground as you can.
  • No Metal – Keep the transmitter away from metal appliances, and don’t place it on a metal shelf or cabinet.
  • Out of Weather – Wireless fence dog collars are waterproof, but the transmitters are not. Keep it out of the weather.
  • Keep it Ventilated – Don’t put the transmitter in a place where the ventilation holes are plugged. It will overhead and stop working. Make sure it gets airflow to stay cool.
  • Outlet – The transmitter will need to be plugged into a 110v power outlet.

Initially, this will be a temporary spot, do not permanently install the transmitter.

You will first have to make sure the transmitter is in a spot that works, and it effectively communicates with the collar.

Once you set the boundary and test it for effectiveness, you can permanently install the transmitter.

See our related article, Where Do You Put a Dog Fence Transmitter Box? for more details on where to place your transmitter!

How to Set Up the Wireless Fence

Once the transmitter is plugged in, find the power button, and turn it on. Set the boundary settings to the highest level.

Next, power on the receiver collar. Usually, they will come with a battery you will have to install, this is not difficult.

If you bought a rechargeable collar, then charge it if the battery is low.

You may need to pair the collar to the transmitter by pressing a button on each until they pair.

Also, make sure the collar and the fence are set to the same invisible fence frequency. Refer to your instruction manual.

The fence is now technically set up, but you will have to adjust the radius of the transmitter to place the invisible fence where you want it.

Read More: Best Wireless Dog Fence for Hills. If you have a sloped yard, these are the top wireless fences to consider!

How to Adjust the Range on a Wireless Dog Fence

Correcting the radius of the transmitter can be a little tricky. It’s quick and easy if you can get someone to help you with it.

Here’s what you need to adjust the radius easily.

  • One person at the transmitter
  • One person outside with the receiver collar powered on
  • A phone or means to communicate back and forth 

The person who has the receiver should go to the furthest point of the boundary you wish to create.

Make sure the collar is held at the same height your dog would be, and that it’s powered on.

Now, the person at the transmitter will begin slowly lowering the boundary level on the device.

Once the transmitter is set to the correct level the receiver collar will beep.

The person with the collar can now let the person at the transmitter know the boundary has been met, and they should stop turning the dial.

If you must do it alone, you will simply have to go back and forth between the receiver and transmitter each time you turn the dial on the transmitter, until the collar beeps.

How to Set Up Marker Flags for a Wireless Fence

setting up invisible fence flags
Flags show your dog where the boundary is during training so they can remember later on.

Wireless fence kits come with visual marker flags.

These come in handy for training, as they help create a visual barrier for your dog while they are getting accustomed to the wireless fence.

With your boundary set, take the collar to the perimeter of the invisible fence.

Place a flag where the collar beeps (not where it shocks). Retreat back into the yard, and move over a few feet. 

Then, proceed back towards the edge of the boundary until you hear a beep, and place a marker.

Continue this until you get the entire boundary area marked with flags a few feet apart.

You want to place the flags in the warning area so that the dog only receives shock correction if it passes the set visual and auditory boundary.

If you run out of flags you can use landscaping flags from the local hardware store or purchase additional matching flags online. Most kits come with a set of 50 flags.

As your dog learns and understands the boundary you can adjust the distance between markers.

Typically markers will be spaced at:

  • 1-3 Feet
  • 5 Feet 
  • 8-10 Feet

As training continues, and you deem fit, you may begin removing flags to increase the space between them.

Ultimately, you can remove the markers altogether once the dog has been fully trained.

How the Invisible Fence Dog Collar Works

How does a wireless pet fence work with a dog fence collar?

Once the collar and fence are paired, the collar receives the radio signals from the fence and issues an audible beep when the dog gets too close to the boundary.

Some models also vibrate.

If the dog retreats back to the yard, nothing happens. If the dog persists through the boundary warning, a static shock will be administered.

If the dog retreats into the yard it immediately stops.

If the dog persists in proceeding through the fence, it will continue to administer small static shocks.

After a period of about 15 seconds, depending on the model, the collar will stop correcting to avoid trauma.

A stubborn dog will run through the invisible boundary if the consequences are not high enough and the payoff is grand enough (to the dog).

What do you do if your dog runs through the invisible fence? Much the same as you do when your dog escapes a regular fence.

Read this in-depth article, Can a Dog Run Through an Invisible Fence? to troubleshoot faulty fences and discover why your dog might have run away.

How to Adjust the Receiver Collar Correction Level

invisible fence collar
The collar is an integral piece of any invisible fence system. It communicates with the transmitter and warns or corrects the dog.

Most collars have a range of correction levels ranging from low to high. The correction levels are usually as follows:

  • 1-3 Low
  • 4-6 Medium
  • 7-10 High

Some collars have a simple 1-5 dial, while others may have over 100 correction levels.

REMEMBER: The correction is NOT meant to harm your dog, and the collars are designed to never hurt or cause injury to your dog.

You want to set it to a level that grabs your dog’s attention, but does not hurt them. Generally, you want to set the level to the lowest level that the dog will not challenge.

The collar will not work properly unless the you’ve learned how to train your dog with an invisible fence and your dog can recognize, understand, remember, and stay inside the fence.

The static correction is there to remind the dog to obey the previous training.

However, if you have a tough or stubborn hound, you may need to use higher correction levels.

Once you have the collar at the level of correction, you may place the collar on the dog, and begin training.

Many believe that electric collars are meant to hurt your dog; this is simply not true. Here are common myths about electric fences.

How to Train Your Dog to Use a Wireless Fence

woman training a young dog
We recommend training for at least 14 days. Some dogs will need more time than that to be fully trusted to stay in the invisible fence.

Training your dog to use a fence is actually a lot easier than you think.

It isn’t difficult, but it requires time and patience. Train the dog in short 10 to 15-minute spurts bookended with playtime and cuddles.

Here’s what you’ll need to train your dog to stay in an invisible fence.

  • A separate non-metal collar and leash or harness
  • A reward for the dog (treats, toy, praise)
  • Patience

After the dog has adjusted to the sometimes bulky receiver collar, you can start training.

Attach a separate non-metal collar to your dog, ensuring it still fits comfortably along with the receiver collar.

Attach a leash to the second collar. 

A second collar is used to avoid injury from the prongs of the receiver collar in case of pulling. By the way, be sure to check out our article on the best collar for dogs that pull!

Start by leading your furry friend towards the boundary until the warning is given.

At this point, turn around and retreat back to the center of the yard, away from the boundary.

Then give your dog a reward and lots of praise for backing away from the boundary. 

Make it clear that retreating from the boundary at the sound of the beep is exciting and good.

You really want to instill that staying in the yard is good so lots of enthusiastic praise, their favorite toy, or really tasty treats should be the reward.

You should continue this process until the dog catches on, approaching the flagged boundary from all angles and parts of the yard. 

As training progresses, you will notice your canine will retreat from the boundary on their own.

Once comfortable, you can eventually remove the leash and continue training. 

Just remember that there is no physical boundary stopping your dog from leaving.

Continued training will help to remind your dog they must stay in the boundary, no matter what.

How to Introduce Distractions to Your Dog

Introducing distractions outside of the boundary in a supervised setting can be a great way to further train your dog.

You can try methods such as:

  • Rolling a ball just outside the boundary
  • Having a friend or neighbor walk by the yard
  • You or a family member leave the yard and walk away

You should never deliberately coax the dog out of the boundary as this can be confusing.

Instead, expose them to situations that would entice them to leave. 

When you see that they remain in the yard, or retreat from the boundary, give lots of praise and reward. 

While all systems are different, the general concept of training your dog to use a fence is the same. Here is a video that explains a little more in-depth how to train your dog.

How Long Does it Take to Train a Dog to Use a Wireless Fence?

You may be wondering just how long this whole training process may take. Firstly, there are a few factors that will affect training time.

  • How much effort you and your dog put into training
  • How consistently you train
  • How positive you make the experience for your dog
  • Your dog’s breed, intelligence, and adaptability level
  • Whether you follow training procedures properly and proceed logically

In reality, training to use any electric fence is always ongoing.

It’s always best to continue remind your dog that although there is no physical barrier to stop them, they must not leave the boundary.

Some dogs get it right away. They have no interest in toying around with the possibility of receiving shock correction, so they train quickly.

Always supervise your dog in the yard for a week or so to make sure that (even if it can’t see you) it won’t investigate along the invisible fence or attempt to cross.

Wireless Fence vs Invisible Fence

Often, the different terms for electric fences are used interchangeably. However, knowing the correct terminology can help you when deciding on a fence.

A wireless fence is just that, it does not rely on a wire for the transmitter and receiver to communicate. Instead, it only has a radio transmitter and receiver collar.

An invisible fence can’t be seen but it can operate via a buried wire, transmitter, and receiver collar or a wireless radio transmitter and receiver collar.

Here is a closer look at the two fencing options:

FenceEasily ObstructedCustomizable BoundaryMaximum CoverageEasy To InstallWire Installation
Wireless YesNo – circular only1/2 acreYesNo
Invisible WiredNoYes – any shape5 acresNoYes

Read More: Are All Wireless Dog Fences Circular? Here’s why all wireless fences create a circular boundary and how to ensure your fence works properly on any terrain.

How Do I Install a Wired Invisible Fence?

Easiest Way to Bury Dog Fence Wire
Invisible dog fence wire is laid in a tiny trench about 1-inch deep. Just enough to keep it safe from the lawn mower, line trimmers, and entanglement.

If you need to cover a larger area or need to customize the shape of your boundary because a circle won’t work for you, you might consider installing an electric fence for dogs.

These fences are very affordable to DIY install. They aren’t as easy as a wireless fence, but most installations are done in an afternoon.

  • Use the sharp end of a pickax or a flat-tipped spade to make a shallow slit in the ground that’s 1 to 3 inches deep (shallower is better).
  • Place the wire into the slit and cover it back over. Continue around the perimeter of the yard to make a closed-loop circuit.
  • Use twisted wire to create “dead space” for the dog to cross the boundary where needed. Usually at the garage door or near a pet door so the dog can get in and out without correction.
  • Strip both ends of the wire and plug them into the terminals on the transmitter.
  • The transmitter must be placed out of the weather and near a 110v outlet. Plug in the transmitter.
  • Set the boundary width dial to maximum.
  • Place the battery in the receiver collar and take it toward the wire. Note where you hear the warning beep. You can place a flag to remember.
  • Adjust the boundary width to where you want it by changing the dial and then noting where the collar beeps. Maximum width can be as much as 25 feet – a deterrent for any dog to run through. Minimum can allow the dog to nearly step on the wire before correction – a temptation to jump over and run away.
  • Mark the entire boundary with flags at the place where the collar beeps, not where it activates shock correction. This trains your dog to respond to the beep.
  • Adjust the correction level on the collar to the desired level (refer to your manual) and place it on the dog. Then proceed through the above steps to train your dog to stay inside the boundary.

As you can see, aside from burying the wire, which can take a few hours depending on the size of your property, the setup and training steps are the same.

The advantages of using wired invisible fencing are that the signal can’t be blocked, the size and shape are completely customizable, and the cost to cover over 1/2 acre of property is much more affordable.

Final Thoughts

Whether you choose a wireless or wired fence depends on your containment goals and the size and shape of your yard.

If a wireless unit will work for you, there isn’t an easier DIY setup. It’s quick & easy.

If the wireless setup doesn’t work for you, rest assured that if you can work in the yard with simple tools for a few hours you can install your own wired invisible fence without trouble.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

You can read more about me in our about us page

Connect with me:

Leave a Comment