Do Wireless Dog Fences Need Wifi? (HOW THEY WORK)

Wireless dog fences are a popular way to keep your dogs safe while letting them run free. 

The great thing about wireless dog fences is that they are easy to install and take up no space at all. 

It’s a wireless transmitter that comes with a wireless dog collar that prevents your dog from going outside your set boundary line.

It works great for any size yard and can work with multiple dogs.

Many people wonder, do wireless dog fences need wifi? Get the answer to your question plus, find out how wireless dog fences work in our quick-read guide!

Do Wireless Dog Fences Need Wifi?

Wireless dog fences don't need wifi
A wireless dog fence doesn’t need wifi to work. GPS dog fences need only a battery so they can work anywhere after they’re set up.

No, they don’t need wifi. Wireless dog fences work through a radio transmitter that sends on a specific frequency in a certain shape from a central location.

They do need electricity to power the transmitter. Does an invisible fence work when the power goes out? They can – but there’s a catch. Read our article for more info.

The included dog collar receives the transmission and alerts the dog when it reaches the boundary line.

The dog receives a warning beep that allows it to retreat before receiving a disciplinary vibration or shock.

Collar receivers are powered by replaceable or rechargeable batteries.

GPS wireless (virtual) fence collars need only a battery to work, though they can lose satellite connection in obstructive areas.

See our related article, Does a Metal Roof Interfere with a Wireless Dog Fence? Here’s what you need to know about wireless fences and their connectivity through objects.

How Do Wireless Dog Fences Work?

How does a wireless pet fence work?

A wireless dog fence works via radio connection between a central transmitter and a receiver collar, which transmits a static correction to the dog once they cross the set boundary line. 

This static correction is completely safe for the dog, though we always recommend using the lowest possible correction level for your dog, and a beep-only function if possible.

Wireless dog fences are installed by using a wireless transmitter that’s placed outside your home on the main level. 

It’s a very simple system that allows your dog to roam freely after it’s trained to stay in the boundary.

How Does a GPS Dog Fence Work?

So, how do GPS collars work?

A GPS dog fence works similarly to a regular wireless fence but the collar tracks the dog’s movements through a GPS satellite connection.

The boundary is set through the collar which then warns and corrects the dog as it wanders too close to the set boundary.

A GPS dog fence is the ultimate in portable dog fencing, though it can’t be programmed for a very small virtual fence perimeter.

Read our related article, Best Virtual Dog Fence 2022, for virtual fence options put to the test for dog owners!

What Is a Receiver Collar?

Shock Collar
The receiver collar receives the signal from the transmitter and alerts the dog when it approaches the boundary.

The receiver collar is a key component in the functionality of any wireless dog fence. It fits your dog’s neck and delivers a warning tone and static correction. 

The receiver collar connects with the transmitter to the boundary area, and it detects when your dog gets close.

The transmitter sends a radio signal to the receiver collar to indicate that the dog has reached the end of the containment area and gives the dog an audible beep.

If the dog retreats, no correction is given.

If the dog continues outside of the containment area then this is when the safe static correction will be initiated. 

We recommend choosing only wireless fences that allow your dog static-free reentry and guaranteed overshock protection.

This means that if the dog persists and leaves the fenced area, the collar will stop shocking after a few seconds.

When the dog chooses to return to the yard, he will not be shocked when he crosses the boundary.

The collar has contact points on it that lay on the dog’s neck, and this is where the correction will be transmitted through.

The prongs should touch the dog’s skin but never dig or cause injury. 

The correction will usually have different settings ranging from a lower level of correction to a higher level. Most pets can start on the lower level, and then work their way up.

Collars can have anywhere from 4 to 99 or more progressively intense correction levels, depending on the manufacturer.

There is usually a weight rating for safe use on various sizes of dogs.

You can purchase additional collars if you have two pets or more so that they can all run in the same area with collars paired to the same transmitter.

They all need to be trained to stay in the fence.

Read More: Are PetSafe Wireless Collars Interchangeable? Some collars can be used with compatible products. Here’s a list of what works!

How Do Wired Fences Work?

dog running free
Wired dog fences utilize a buried perimeter wire to make a fenced area. They’re invisible after installation.

A wired fence is another popular choice among pet owners for pet containment areas. Wired fences are often called in-ground pet fences or electronic dog fences

This type of electronic dog fence allows a homeowner to build their customized containment area, and bury a boundary wire along the pet containment edges.

The boundary wire is what receives a signal from the transmitter that triggers the dog fence collar. 

As your dog approaches the invisible fence the collar will sound a warning alarm indicating to the dog that they are too close. 

If the dog continues to the invisible fence after the warning alarm then this is when a static correction is administered.

Here’s a quick video that goes over the very basics of training a dog to an invisible fence.

Wired vs. Wireless Dog Fence – How They Compare

Which is better wired or wireless dog fence?

If you’re still not sure what type of dog fence you should get, we’re here to help you decide.

There are many differences between wired dog fences and wireless dog fences. 

They both also have their own set of pros and cons. Your situation, dog type, yard, and other factors will determine whether a wired or wireless dog fence is right for you.

The main difference between the two is that wired electric dog fences have wires buried underground, which is why they can be considered underground dog fences. 

This boundary wire will lay out the boundary line for your pet containment area. This boundary can be several acres because wire can be added to enlarge the fenced area.

Wired fences are also helpful for reinforcing existing fenced boundaries or allowing dogs to roam in an entire yard, not just a portion.

A wireless dog fence is completely wireless, sending radio signals from the central transmitter to the receiver collars.

It’s incredibly fast to set up, and a favorite for those with small yards.

The boundary area of a wireless pet fence is always circular, though additional transmitters can help to increase the boundary area.

The boundary will always have a round or scalloped shape.

Regardless of the type of invisible fence that you choose, remember that it can keep your dog in, but it can’t keep other dogs, animals, or people out.

If you have an especially stubborn dog, you may find that the dog will run through the fence no matter what you do.

This isn’t frequently a problem, but it does happen.

Read More: Best Wireless Pet Fence for Small Dogs. If you have small breeds, this guide is for you! We tested the top wireless fences for small dogs.

When Would a Wireless Fence Not Be Ideal?

Two dogs talking to each other
You need to get the right fence to safely contain your fur buddy.

There are a few things that might interfere with a wireless dog fence and might indicate that an electric fence, wired fence, or other types of fence might be better for you.

The first thing to remember is that the dog must be trained to stay inside the wireless fence.

This can take time and requires patience and a ton of positive reinforcement so your dog learns well.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before purchasing a wireless dog fence.

Uneven Land/Trees 

If your property has uneven terrain consisting of slopes or steep hills and a lot of trees, then it might be difficult to have a wireless dog fence. 

These may possibly interfere with the connection between the transmitter and the wireless dog fence collar.

Metal Objects

If you have any large metal objects in your yard such as parked cars, a metal shed, or a metal roof, then this can interfere with the wireless dog fence. 

Because wireless fences use a radio signal to connect with the wireless fence, this can be interrupted by metal objects throwing it off.

Circular Boundary 

If you have a uniquely shaped yard and feel as though a circular boundary will not work, then a wired system might be better as it’s more customizable to fit any shape or size of the yard.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that no, a wireless fence does not need WiFi to operate.

It works through radio waves and the transmitter plugs into an outlet to get electricity. It also needs batteries for the collar.

A wireless fence is a great option for those looking for a portable fence that is quick to install and set up.

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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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