Easiest Way to Bury Dog Fence Wire in Your Yard (STEPS)

An invisible dog fence is an innovative way to keep your pet safe while not adding a typical fence to your yard.

If you’re thinking about installing one yourself, you may wonder what’s the easiest way to bury dog fence wire is and what to do about driveways and sidewalks.

Read on to find out how to bury dog fence wire and our tips and tricks to make it as easy as can be!

What’s the Easiest Way to Bury Dog Fence Wire?

Dog fence wire being placed in a small trench
The trench needed to bury dog fence wire is very small, so it isn’t a huge job to do.

If you’re installing the wire around a normal suburban yard, you can get it done with a flat shovel, ditch or trenching shovel, or the sharp end of a pick ax in just a couple of hours.

Simply loosen the soil and turf and push it to one side so the wire can be slid into the narrow trench. It doesn’t need to be more than 3-inches deep.

If you’re installing the wire around a larger property you can consider using a wire trencher to dig the trench and lay the wire in one step.

You can easily rent one from Home Depot and similar stores.

CAUTION: The main problem with using trenching machines is that the trench is usually made too deep.

The wire won’t communicate with the dog’s collar if it’s buried more than a few inches under the soil.

Alternatively, you can get a trenching shovel that helps you dig the trench and lay the wire at once.

We tried it, but it seemed overly complicated considering how shallow and narrow the trench needs to be.

Easiest Way to Bury Dog Fence Wire – Step by Step

The method of creating a closed-loop circuit with dog wire is quite simple. Most people get the entire system installed and up and running in a single day.

Map Out Your Intended Area 

It’s best to have a plan before you start digging. You may want your pet to only have access to a certain area, or you may have a driveway that you will have to plan around.

Also plan spaces to let your dog pass through. The wire has to be a closed loop.

This means that the beginning and end both have to land inside the transmitter box for it to work.

If you need to let the dog go over a part of the fence to use a dog door or something like that, you’ll need to plan ahead. We’ll tell you how to make these safe spaces later.

See our related article, How Do I Run an Invisible Fence Under My Driveway? We share some easy and more permanent installation methods in this comprehensive guide!

Trench Time

Now that you have a plan, you can start digging the trench and burying the wire. Burying the wire 1 to 3 inches below the surface will be best.

Use a shovel, pick ax, or wire trencher to dig a narrow, shallow trench to lay the wire inside.

The point of the trench is to protect the wire from lawn mowers, trimmers, crimping, and tangling so you’ll get reliable performance from the fence.

Leave Spaces for Your Pet To Pass Over

If you want areas where your pet can cross through, be sure to remember this as you are placing the wire.

You do not want all your hard work to go to waste when you have to dig it up to make corrections.

Simply twist the wire back around itself to cancel out the signal and leave a “dead space” where your dog can cross without fear.

Alternatively, you can splice in sections of twisted wire to create these zones.

Here’s a quick video from PetSafe demonstrating how to create a twisted wire area next to the transmitter box that allows your dog to reenter the house or garage.

If you’re still undecided on which fence is best for you, we took a look at the best electric fence for dogs that we have tested and approved.

How to Install a Dog Fence Wire Across a Driveway

House with driveway
If your driveway has expansion joints you can run the wire inside the joint and then use caulking to keep it in the crack.

You have three options for installing the dog fence wire across a driveway: placing it under the driveway, laying it over the driveway, or laying the wire in an expansion joint. 

Under a Driveway

Placing the wire under a driveway will be the best option if you want the wire completely hidden and protected.

Here are some options:

  • Tunnel under the driveway. This is the most difficult method, but it is actually pretty quick and easy to do with a hose and a tunnel kit. Tunnel under the driveway and run the wire through a length of small PVC pipe.
  • Run the wire through a drain pipe. This can be done if you have an existing drain pipe underneath your driveway. Use a PVC conduit to run the wire through the pipe.

See our related article, Can You Put Invisible Fence into Conduit Pipe? for tips on using conduit pipe to protect your electric fence!

On a Driveway

If you choose to not go under your driveway, here are some other options:

  • Lay the wire in an existing expansion joint. If your driveway has expansion joints this will be the easiest option while still keeping the wire hidden. You can use caulking to keep the wire safely tucked in the joint.
  • Lay the wire over your driveway. This is the easiest option overall, but also the most visible. You can lay the wire over the driveway and protect it with tubing. This doesn’t protect the wire very well, but it works for a quick fix.

If the wire breaks because of the method you chose to install it across the driveway or a walkway, you can always use wire nuts to splice in a new piece and keep the fence up and running.

Learn how to bury dog fence wire under driveway in this complete DIY guide.

How Deep Should You Bury Dog Fence Wire?

Dog inside a wire fence
Some dog owners use a buried wire invisible fence to reinforce an existing fence where the dog keeps digging under.

Knowing how deep to bury invisible fence wire is important. You can bury dog fence wire anywhere from 1 to 3 inches.

Keep in mind that if you bury it too deep it will not work as well and you run the risk of hitting utility lines. The shallower the better.

If you have young children, or you’re often in the yard, it’s best that you choose to bury the wire instead of mounting it above ground where it can be tangled, broken, or become a tripping hazard.

Placing Other Invisible Fence Components

The wire is just one component of creating the dog fence. The other two components are the transmitter box and receiver collar. 

  • The transmitter box. This box has to be kept out of the elements, and should be set up indoors. The transmitter box is what the dog fence wire is plugged into. It must have a 110v outlet nearby to plug into.
  • The receiver collar. The battery-powered receiver collar will be worn by your pet, and beep as they approach the dog fence wire, and give a light shock if your dog attempts to cross the wire.

Are Invisible Dog Fences Safe for My Pet?

Many owners are curious to know if a dog fence wire is even a safe option in the first place.

For a dog fence to work, your pet will need to be trained to know where the perimeter of the fence is. 

Without the proper training, your dog will not know to stay within the invisible fence and will not be safely contained.

Are wireless dog fences safe? Check out this article that takes a look at how safe these fences are for pets.

Are Invisible Dog Fences Safe for Humans?

Another question that many owners tend to have is if dog fence wire is safe for humans? Pet owners with children may be worried.

Fortunately, there is nothing to worry about. 

Dog fence wire is safe for humans. Pet Stop does say that if you are holding the collar as you pass over the dog fence wire then you may receive a “static correction.”

The experience will show you why your dog avoids doing this, but you’ll see that it doesn’t cause any type of injury or permanent damage.

Are wireless dog fences safe for people? Check out this article where we do a deep dive into the topic of how safe invisible fences are for humans.

Final Thoughts

Many dog owners avoid putting in a wired invisible fence because they’re under the impression that installation is extremely difficult and time-consuming.

This just isn’t the case.

We’ve done it quite a few times, and we can tell you that most of the time it can be done with a hand tool in just a few hours on a Saturday morning.

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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.

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