How Do You Set Up a Wireless Dog Fence? (STEPS for 2022)

Invisible fences are especially popular for people who are unable to build fences and want to give their pets more freedom than a long leash or dog run.

They can also be an added layer of security for the escape artist pup who jumps over, digs under, or squeezes through existing fencing.

But how do you set up a wireless dog fence? This article aims to answer this question step by step!


Before opting for a wireless fence, we strongly recommend obedience training and taking the time to understand and carry out the process.

Training your dog can prevent the potential stress of a wireless fence collar, and focuses on positive cues to reinforce boundaries. 

While wireless fence collars aren’t physically harmful, for certain dogs they can cause potentially severe emotional distress without the proper training.

Brain training techniques are a science-backed way to help prepare your dog for new boundaries without the use of force or dominance!

What is a Wireless Dog Fence?

Dog looking outside the gates
If your dog won’t stay inside your existing fencing you may want to reinforce the boundary with an invisible fence.

How does a wireless pet fence work? Wireless dog fences work by establishing an invisible boundary that is transmitted by a central unit and received by the dog’s collar.

When the dog approaches the limit of the transmitter boundary, the collar sends feedback.

Usually, there is a warning beep to allow the dog to turn around before receiving static correction.

Some collars only use beeps and vibration to train the dog, never giving the dog any sort of static shock. These are great for intelligent and obedient dogs.

It’s important to note, that while they do emit a small shock, the fences are perfectly safe for your dog to use. 

They are the same type of shock you get when you receive a static shock from a metal doorknob.

While the shock may get your attention it never causes injury, and the same is true with the static correction collar used to keep dogs inside invisible fencing.

PetSafe makes a Stubborn Dog version of the invisible fence collar which delivers significantly more static shock power than standard training collars.

This helps with dogs that insist on running through the fence even on the highest correction level on the collar.

However, if your dog simply won’t stay home, you may have to use a regular fence.

With proper training, however, wireless fences can be effective for most dogs, and portable invisible fences and GPS fences can be used to keep dogs safe on camping and fishing trips!

Read More: Are Wireless Dog Fences Safe for Humans? If you’re concerned about the safety of these fences for you and your dog, this guide is worth checking out!

How To Choose a Wireless Dog Fence

There are several different types and brands of wireless fences to consider, and there are different factors that may make one work better for you than another.

It’s important to consider your specific needs, and not just rely on what other people have said.

We tested the Best electric fences and reviewed our favorites to help you narrow down your choices.

Some questions to ask yourself are: What size dog do you have? How big of a perimeter do you have? What type of transmitter do you want?

Once you’ve picked out and purchased a wireless fence, it’s time to install it. 

It might seem like a complicated process, but really it can be quite simple if you just follow these steps.

See our related article, Do it Yourself Wireless Dog Fence, for more DIY and installation tips!

How To Install a Wireless Dog Fence – Step by Step

Setting up the fence
Carefully test and flag the boundaries of the invisible fence so you and your dog are clear on the limits before training begins.

Choose The Transmitter Location

The first step to installing your new fence is to choose the best location for your signal transmitter. 

The transmitter should be near a power outlet, and next to an outer wall of your house. 

The more concrete there is between the transmitter and the yard, the weaker the signal will be, so it is important to minimize that as much as you can. 

The transmitter should be between 3-5 feet off the ground for the best results.

  • Once you have the best spot picked out that follows these guidelines, you can mount the transmitter to your wall. 
  • You can either screw it into the wall or use adhesive strips, the application method will depend on the brand, and what you’re able to do in that specific location. 
  • You could also place it on a desk or shelf, it doesn’t matter as long as it stays upright. 

If you plan to take the transmitter with you on trips, then don’t use a permanent installation method.

It’s important to remember to never place anything on top of the transmitter, and to make sure that no ventilation openings are blocked because it can overheat and stop working.

Read our related article, Where Do You Put a Dog Fence Transmitter Box? for a more detailed guide on transmitter placement.

Install or Charge the Collar Batteries

The next step in the installation is to check what type of power source the collar requires. If it takes batteries, insert the correct size, and these should last for 1-3 months. 

Sometimes the collar can be recharged, in which case the charge will last a few days before needing more juice. 

Whichever method of power your collar will take, you will know you need to give it more power by an indicator light located on the collar.

Read our related article on How to Test Invisible Fence Collar Battery for a detailed guide to testing and replacing collar batteries.

Pair the Collar and Transmitter

Most of the time the collar and transmitter need to be paired to work. This will have to be done with every collar you buy to pair with the system.

This is usually done by pressing a specific button or two on the transmitter while standing near it with the collar, wait a few seconds, and you’re done. 

Double-check with the instructions that come with your collar on what specifically you need to press, or if you need to do this step at all.

Set the Fence Radius

The next step is to set the radius of the fence. How you do this will depend on the brand; some have knobs on the transmitter, while others use buttons on an LCD screen. 

Setting the radius is most easily done with two people. Have one person at the control panel (transmitter) and the other in the yard with the collar

The person outside should hold the collar at the dog’s height at the furthest distance you want your pup to be able to go. 

Then the person inside starts to change the size of the containment zone until the person outside hears the collar beep. 

Communicating through phones or walkie-talkies, the person with the collar should let the one at the transmitter know when the beep happens so they can stop adjusting the perimeter. 

If, for some reason, you aren’t able to hear the beep, you can always watch for a light on the collar that flashes at the same time as the beeps.

Install Visual Markers or Flags

Your fence kit should have come with some sort of markers or pet fence flags.

PetSafe includes 50 flags, but some companies include fewer. Consider buying landscaping flags if needed.

  • To place flags, slowly approach the zone boundary with the collar in your hand and at the dog’s height. 
  • As you approach the fence, you should hear the warning beeping. When you do, put a flag in the ground. 
  • You want the dog to see where the beeps are so that if the dog passes the flags (and warning beep) he is clearly outside the “fence” before receiving a corrective shock.
  • Then you should back up a few feet and walk 5-10 feet to your side, and repeat what you just did. 
  • Do this until you have the entire zone boundary marked with flags every 5-10 feet.

We use more flags at first so it’s very clear to the dogs. How long do you need to leave invisible fence flags up for? Remove flags little by little after the dog is trained, between 3 weeks to a couple of months.

Read our related article on How to Expand Wireless Dog Fence Systems to help you get the most out of the space in your yard!

Training Your Dog

Dog with training collar
Once a dog is trained to understand and respect an invisible fence, they have the freedom to run and play outdoors.

The next thing you need to do before you are ready to let your pup out is to use our comprehensive guide to train your dog to stay safely inside the invisible fence boundaries.

It’s important to know that if you have multiple dogs, they should be trained separately so you can give each dog the attention it needs. 

Train the Dog With Beep-Only Setting

For the first training step, we just need the collar to still be on the beep-only setting. 

Before you set the collar to the static, you want to introduce your dog to the new boundary. 

This normally takes between 5-7 days, depending on your dog, but it’s recommended to never do less than 5 days. 

Break the training into 15-minute sessions 3 times a day, and your furry friend will be used to the new boundary in no time.

  • For about 10 minutes before each training session, spend time with and play with your dog. Training should be kept fun for them. 
  • Once you’re ready to begin training, take your dog’s normal collar off. Put the receiver on, with prongs on the underside of their neck. 

You want the collar to be tight, but not too tight of a fit, meaning you should be able to put two fingers between the collar and the dog’s skin. 

  • Put the normal collar or harness back on, and attach a leash to it. Never put a leash on the receiver! This can cause the probes to dig into their skin and hurt them.
  • Start to walk around the perimeter of the containment zone, and slowly approach the flag line. 

You should never force your dog to get near it, but let it choose to cross the border on its own. 

Once the beeping starts you should immediately pull on the leash, bringing the dog back away from the boundary line. 

Firmly say, “No, no, no” while backing away, but try not to scare the dog. 

  • Once you and your dog are away from the flags and the beeping has stopped, praise your dog and give it training treats or another reward the dog loves
  • Go to another boundary flag 10-30 feet away, and repeat the previous step. 
  • Continue to do this for about 15 minutes, then be sure to spend another 10 minutes playing with your dog to keep it happy, and to keep training fun.

Some dogs will try to cross the boundary line despite the collar beeping and your scolding. 

If this happens, pick up the nearest flag and vigorously shake it in your dog’s face so it understands that the flags are “bad.” 

Once it’s back inside the perimeter, and the beeping has stopped, praise your dog and give it treats.

After several days of this, your dog should start to back away from the flag line on its own. 

Be sure to praise the dog when this happens. Even if you notice this on the first day, never move on to the next step before 5 days.

If, after a full week, you don’t see any change in your pup’s behavior around the wireless fence, move on to the next step, which is introducing static.

You should remember that, even if you can’t hear it, your dog will be able to hear the beeping. 

For you to know when to pull away from the fence, simply adjust the collar so that you can see when the light flashes every time the alarm goes off.

It’s important to remember during this part, and all of the training, to keep calm. You never want to scare or worry your dog, as that can be detrimental to the training. 

Always be patient and give lots of praise and love.

Read More: How Close Can a Dog Get to an Invisible Fence? See what boundaries you can set with your invisible fence in this complete guide.

Changing Collar Settings

Good dog love and cuddles
Keep training positive through all phases by giving the dog praise, love, and cuddles as he learns to stay inside the fence.

The next step in training is to introduce the static correction. This lets the dog know that there is a slightly unpleasant sensation if they try to cross the flag line. 

It’s important to never give more than one shock at a time and to take a several-hour break in-between corrections. 

Going immediately from one shock to another can hurt the training, and make the dog afraid to go outside completely. 

This part of training should last a week, regardless of how quickly your dog picks it up. 

Before you begin, you need to set the collar to the appropriate level of static. 

Choosing the correct level of correction can be difficult, but here’s the general rule:

  • Shock setting 1 or 2 for small dogs
  • 3 for medium dogs
  • 4 or 5 for large and extra-large dogs

You should also consider your pet’s pain tolerance. If your dog is able to deal with large amounts of discomfort you may need to use a higher setting. 

Use the lowest setting your dog will respond to. We always start with 1 and step it up if our dogs ignore the static.

We stop as soon as we see a reaction when the dog steps outside the flags.

You also don’t want to start too high, as that can hurt and scare the dog, which is bad in itself but can also put a damper on the training. 

How to change the correction setting will depend on the brand and model, but will likely be one of two ways. 

  • Check your instruction manual to know how for your specific model. The most common way is to press the Mode button on the collar and wait for a flash and beeps. 

The number of beeps will correspond to the correction level. To increase the correction level, press the Mode button the number of times to equal the number of levels.

For example, to go from level 2 to level 4, you would press Mode twice. 

  • Other models are more advanced, and you can set the correction level from the main controller’s LCD screen. 

Train the Dog With Static Collar Correction

Dog Wearing Anti Bark Collar
The static shock is meant to remind the dog to behave, but never to injure the dog in any way.

Once you have chosen and set the collar to the appropriate correction level, put the collar on your dog. 

Again, make sure that it’s snug but not tight. It’s important to make sure that the prongs touch your dog’s skin, but don’t dig in. 

If the prongs don’t come into contact with the skin, then the static correction will not be effective. For fluffier dogs, attach the longer prongs that came with the wireless fence. 

If they still are not long enough, you may need to trim down the hair on their neck.

Next, you will do just like before when using only the beeping setting. 

Walk with your dog on a leash attached to a separate collar near the border, and let your dog cross the line on its own. 

Do not react to the beeps if your dog doesn’t, but wait a few seconds for the static correction.

When the shock does happen it’s very important to stay calm, and not feel bad for your dog. 

The shock feels like a static shock you might receive from a doorknob. After your dog feels the shock, use the leash to bring the dog back inside the flags.

When you are several feet away, praise your pup, and give them their favorite treat. Do this several times a day with lots of time in between. 

If the dog refuses to cross the flags, don’t force him to do so.

Be sure to also play with your dog before and after each training session. When your dog backs away from the flags on its own, be sure to give extra praise for learning.

If, after a week, your dog is still not responding to the static, there are a few things you can try. 

  • First, check that the collar fits properly and that the prongs are touching your dog’s skin. 
  • You may also need to adjust the static level to be higher if your pup doesn’t stop at the flag line. 
  • If your furry friend is too stressed or scared to go near the line at all, lower the setting and reduce the training sessions until their behavior returns to normal. 

After a week, your dog should respect the wireless fence, and shouldn’t try to run out. 

Be sure to always praise your dog when they do something correctly and that shows they have learned.

Sometimes, you need your dog to leave the fence’s perimeter, for example, walks or car rides. 

There are a couple of things you can do to leave the yard. First, make sure the dog isn’t wearing the receiver. 

Then, if the dog is small enough, carry it over the boundary. If it is too big to be picked up, leave from a different door, or get in the car (inside the fence) and drive it out.

Sometimes you will want to do further training with your pup if they are keen to chase squirrels or other animals outside the range of the fence. 

That is called distraction training, and you can watch a neat video of a professional who is ensuring that the dog will not be distracted enough to cross the invisible fence barrier.

This is the goal of training your dog.

In Conclusion

Buying and setting up a wireless fence should not be a challenging task. By following these steps you will have a safe yard for your furry friend in no time. 

It’s important to always check the directions that come with the fence to make sure that your specific fence is installed properly.

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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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