When choosing whether to have an in-ground invisible dog fence or one that runs wirelessly, it is best to know the differences between the two to help narrow the search.
So, is a wired or wireless dog fence better?
Ultimately, which system is better is going to come down to a case-by-case scenario as there are benefits and drawbacks to both types of fences.
With so many brands available, it may seem difficult to narrow these down to one or the other. In this article, primary factors for both invisible fence options will be outlined.
What’s the Difference?
For general information on invisible dog fences, Is Invisible Fence Worth It? is a great place to learn more, so be sure to check it out.
That said, in this article, we’ll cover the basics of different fences and weigh the options available out there for customers.
Essentially, an invisible fence is exactly what it implies – an invisible barrier that keeps a pet inside a determined area and can be either wired or wireless.
- A wired system is one that will require the installation of an underground wire.
- Wireless fences offer the accessibility to be portable.
We’ll take a closer look at each of these below.
The Wired Fence
The concept of using an underground wire to restrict boundaries for pet containment was originally developed in 1973.
While the wired fence has improved by leaps and bounds, the concept is still basically the same.
An underground wire transmits a signal to pets wearing collars that will send a static correction to a collar, informing them that the boundary has been reached.
You can install a wired fence by yourself, but there are professional-grade wired fences.
The professionally wired fences also tend to come with professional training for the animal to help them respond correctly to the system.
- Large Contained Area – The primary benefit of a wired dog fence is that the installation can span many acres of land.
- Customizable Boundary Shapes – Wired dog fences can enclose areas that are irregular in shape and form as the wire needs only to be laid in the desired perimeter.
- Great for Restricting Specific Areas – The ability for customizable boundaries of these fences make them great for keeping pets out of specific areas like pools and gardens.
- The Collar is Lighter – Collars for wired systems are not as battery intensive as wireless systems and are thus typically lighter than most wireless systems.
- Installation – Manual labor is required as in-ground wire must be laid 3 to 6 inches deep. Different companies offer installation packages, but that cost can add up.
- Landscape Features Can Pose a Problem – When installing, there are bound to be difficult areas to go under, including ponds, walkways, driveways, patios, and other fences.
- Wire-Breaks Can Happen – In the case of a wire break, it can be spendy and time-consuming to locate and fix the break.
- Permanent System – The transmitter could be moved to a new home but that in-ground wire is there to stay because it is an installed system.
The Wireless Fence
Wireless fences are a spin-off of the original in-ground method that offers portability and very little installation time.
These wireless fences use a central transmitter that creates the boundary for the dog collars to go by.
This boundary can be set by the user and modified for areas of different sizes.
- Easy Installation – Installation is essentially non-existent and the system functions off of the main unit that sends out the main frequency to the desired perimeter.
- Simple Setup – Once your dog is trained on the system, it is fairly simple to use as it is plug-n-play. Plug it into the wall, connect the collars, and set the boundary.
- Price – The wireless system is generally going to be cheaper. If you are wanting a GPS wireless fence device, those can be a tad more expensive.
- Very Portable – The highlight of a wireless dog fence is that it is portable, making it easy to take along on camping trips, visiting family, or general outings.
- Relatively Small Area – The typical radius of wireless fences is between 150 feet and a full acre. GPS satellite-based dog collars can offer more but can be expensive.
- Circular Shaped Boundary – The wireless fence sends out a signal that only works within a circular radius and cannot exclude any areas.
- Heavier Collar – Dog collars on wireless systems have more technology running in them which causes the collars to run a bit heavier than wired dog fence collars.
- Rechargeable Batteries – Many of the batteries used on wireless systems are specific to the collars and may require an additional purchase later down the line.
- Potential Malfunctions – Sloping hills, forested areas, and metal structures all pose problems to the wireless system, causing patchy and glitchy reception.
What’s All the Buzz About Wireless?
With a dog properly trained on a wireless system, the benefits are a real plus.
This is a transportable unit that can be taken on vacations and can really be a benefit as a campsite dog fence or for visiting family members.
But there are drawbacks to factor in.
The system can only be contained within a circular area, primarily due to the technology being based on a remote transmitter unit.
This is something that cannot be avoided and unfortunately causes a lot of hindrance to user flexibility.
The other difficulty is that service in the designated area can be a little patchy or glitchy, causing interference between the signal and the transmitter.
For best reception, the area needs to be relatively flat, devoid of thick brush, and cannot have metallic interruptions like a metal roof, for instance.
For more on this, check out our article where we cover invisible fence interference and what you can do to avoid it!
Make it Work for You
So, it is clear that the wireless invisible fence has its drawbacks.
But if you work within the confines of the system, wireless invisible fences are well-functioning devices that can be integrated into daily routine with ease.
Dig in a Little Deeper
Continued research is always a plus, especially when investing in a system that may be at the forefront of your pet’s outdoor playtime.
Both Types of Fences Require Detailed Training
Simply putting a dog on an invisible fence system without training can create negative reinforcement from the get-go.
Many professional-grade invisible fences include training packages with the installation that help get your dog well adapted to the system.
Online courses are also available that can be either purchased or watched on YouTube.
Many brands like PetSafe or Invisible Fence specifically have training based on their system.
Likewise, companies like Tractor Supply offer training to upsell the products they sell.
The following video is a step-by-step on how to train your pup for an invisible fence:
Make It Fun and Rewarding
Training can be a great way to get one-on-one time with your dog.
It is something that should not be looked at as a way to restrict the pup’s fun.
Rather, the training should instead be viewed as a method in which the dog will have the ultimate freedom to play once the initial boundaries are understood.
Bring lots of treats and prepare for plenty of pets.
Your dog is going to need to know that they are learning something that is going to be rewarded in the long run.
It may seem like a lot at first, but a well-trained dog can really benefit from the new boundary.
How About the Maintenance?
As with all invisible dog fences, collar care is a must.
A dog collar can only be worn for a certain amount of hours and needs to be rotated regularly to ease irritation and prevent e collar sores.
When setting up any invisible fence, read the instructions as each system is going to have its own maintenance guidelines laid out in the manual.
If you understand the plight of old strands of Christmas lights, you might be wondering about shorts on a wired system.
The gauge of the wire is the primary factor to consider here. Additionally, the quality of wire will make a huge difference in longevity.
Wire gauge is not necessarily going to improve the frequency of the receiver, but it will add strength when it comes to wire breaks.
Typically, wire gauge is considered for the distance of the perimeter, so going with a thicker wire (like a 14-gauge dog fence wire) will also help in case of later expansion.
In-ground dog fences come with a manufacturer-grade wire that will work well for most instances, but they can still have issues down the line.
If you are concerned about wire breakages, professional-grade wire is available at an additional cost and may be worth the investment.
Wire break detectors are available for in-ground systems and some brands actually sell detectors that are specific to their system.
This is an additional cost that should certainly be looked into when picking your system as reviews on the success of these devices tend to be mixed.
Wireless Requires Less Work
Care of a wireless system can seem fairly straightforward.
Care includes general cleaning of the collar, replacing batteries periodically, and invisible fence troubleshooting.
Most importantly, you will want to walk the perimeter often to ensure consistent reception.
Detailed information on wireless systems can also be found on our website.
This article details the process of how to set up PetSafe Wireless Fence.
For helpful information on the waterproof features of invisible fences, stop by Can Electric Fence Dog Collars Get Wet?
Ultimately, reading more about dog collars is necessary when using any of the invisible dog fence systems.
We also have an archive of articles relating to collar use that spans from invisible fence collars to how to use dog harnesses correctly.
If your area can handle the installation of a wired fence then this is certainly the way to go as wired invisible fences cover large areas and are more reliable.
But wireless invisible fences shouldn’t be discounted.
For small spaces or with families on the move choosing a wireless fence is the choice for convenience.
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