You need a dog fence, one that instills a healthy relationship between what your pooch can and cannot do. You can safely lay down the law with a great electric dog fence, all while protecting them from the dangers of getting out and running amok through the neighborhood. Without further ado, let’s jump into the best electric dog fences on the market and everything you need to know about them.
The Best Electric Dog Fence
It’s time to lay down the law and get your pup acquainted with their designated zone at home. You don’t have to bury wires, but you will get the option to go through five different shock levels to give a different jolt to your pup if they travel beyond the perimeter. Even if they need to take care of business in an inclimate weather, there’s nothing to worry about: the collar is waterproof through mild rain and still transmits at the same distance regardless of weather.
If you’ve got a large yard, you’ve just found your next electric dog fence. This covers up to half an acre of land, giving you maximum range for your pup to get their workout in, without feeling too constricted to one specific area. When you purchase the best electric dog fence for your needs, there’s always this afterthought: the setup process. This one comes with a sixty to ninety-minute setup, definitely something to keep you busy on a Sunday morning, but well worth the end results.
No need to dig to bury wires
Good for up to half an acre of land
Average sixty to ninety minute setup time
Five different shock levels
- Weight12.8 oz
Next on the agenda is this powerful little number by SportDOG. If you’re trying to cover a large plot of land, this is the way to go. One and a third acre of land is an amazing range, and while you’re going to have a bothersome time with the installation process, it’s worth it to give your pup a nice space to play. Dig for the wires, bury them, and sleep easy knowing that not only is your pooch protected, but you’re also in-the-know. There’s an indicator that will let you know when and if the wire breaks, so you can fix the problem before your dog figures out that the fence doesn’t work anymore.
You also get a hundred flags to mark out your specific areas, which helps your dog better understand the shape of their surroundings. The collar comes with a low battery indicator light that typically flashes for a week before it runs out, giving you time to replace or charge it even if you forget a few times.
Includes one-hundred marking flags
Viable for 1 ⅓ an acre of land (massive space)
Wire break alert lets you know when there’s a problem
Low battery indicator light on the collar
Battery typically lasts for a full year before needing to be charged or switched out
- BrandSportDOG Brand
- Weight10.35 lbs
Another winner from PetSafe, this super simple invisible dog fence allows you to just set up and be done with it. The first time you set this thing up only takes 45 minutes, and if you move it afterward (if you travel via RV with your dog or something of the sort), you’ll be able to reapply it to a new area with ease. There’s 3/4 an acre of the land worth of coverage, giving your pup plenty of room to dash around.
Our favorite touch is the quick charge on the lithium-ion powered dog collar. Two hours of charge gives it three weeks of use before it runs at, at which time it has a low battery indicator light to let you know. If you’re worried about the effectivity of this fence because you have a larger breed, don’t worry: there are five correction settings, so they’ll know when they cross over the invisible threshold.
Covers up to 3/4 an acre of land
Five correction levels for multiple sizes of dogs
Rechargeable collar typically works for three weeks, then needs a two-hour charge
45-60 minute setup
- Weight4.5 lbs
Some of us have enormous plots of land, depending on where you live. If these measly one-acre ranges have you scoffing, we feel you, and so does Extreme Dog Fence. They give you a whopping twenty-five acres of coverage with this single unit, one that rivals the cost of everything else we’ve shown you so far.
Collar assembly is quick and easy, and the entire system is fully waterproof. If Lassie has to cross a four-acre gap when it starts raining, it’s not going to ruin the collar one bit. You don’t get as many flags as we’d like, but you do get a stellar warranty on both electronic parts and the collar itself. Maximum coverage without having to empty your wallet.
An insane 25 acres of coverage
Waterproof system, even if submerged
One-year warranty on the fence, two-year on electronic components
Despite the long amount of wire, it’s a fairly simple setup process
- BrandExtreme Dog Fence
- Weight0.32 oz
Mockins knows a thing or two about training your dog properly. This is designed for those of you with a smaller area to cover but still gives enough range that your dog will have plenty of running space. Go anywhere up to 1,600 feet from the transmitter in any one given direction, which most often allows you pup to roam the backyard and front.
Pairing the collar is easy. In fact, the entire setup process is fairly simple and only takes about 35 minutes on average. Mockins also wanted you to sleep soundly, which is why they’ve slapped a limited lifetime warranty on this bad boy. Your dog’s covered, and your investment is covered should a problem arise. The best part about this system? It’s less than a Benjamin, and yes, it really does work wonders.
1,600-foot radius in any direction from the transmitter
Simple pairing process for the collar
Limited lifetime warranty included with standard purchase
- Weight1.18 lbs
We already know that PetSafe is absolutely ruling this space, and even their most basic model comes with a lot to love. For half the cost of their other units, you decrease your range to 1/3 an acre, but this system can link up with others to increase that range up to five acres if you need it. You will need additional flags for this to work. Along the collar, you get a low battery indicator so you can pop it on the charger before it runs out.
That collar also has four correction levels on it, which is ideal if you have a smaller dog and don’t want to give them the full jolt of some single setting models. When you go to bury the line, just know that you’re burying high-durability copper insulated wires, and likely won’t run into any line break problems for the duration of use. While it may be a basic system compared to their other models, it does the trick beautifully.
Durable copper insulated wire means less chance of line breaks
Ideal for up to 1/3 an acre of land
Works with other PetSafe systems to increase total range
Four static levels on collar w/ full waterproofing
Low battery indicator
- Weight4.84 lbs
Shopping for two pups? Not a problem. Dr. Tiger can accommodate. While you get a decreased range of 650 ft from the receiver, notably lower than other models, this is the perfect fit if you have a snug yard. It also runs two collars off the same system, which uses the extra power. The excellent thing about this electric dog fence is how it works when your pup crosses the threshold.
It has a proximity detector, meaning the static increases the further they are over the line, which can help speed up the training process. They’re going to give you twenty flags to set up the boundary and show your pup where the open range ends. The rechargeable collar battery typically lasts for three weeks before needing another charge.
The maximum range of up to 650 ft away from the transmitter
Auto-correction levels based on proximity
You get two rechargeable, waterproof collars
30-day money-back guarantee
- BrandDr. Tiger
- Weight2.2 lbs
If you’ve got two dogs, that previous system might be a good fit for you. But what if you have three or more? You’d want an unlimited number of collars being synced up to the transmitter, which is exactly what Sit Boo-Boo allows you to do. This gives you pups up to a third an acre of range and only provides the proper level of static to correct behavior without being cruel. There are no settings on it, better yet, they automatically adjust to your dog to provide a reasonable correction level for their size.
The very best wire possible is copper, and while Sit Boo-Boo could have simply provided that, they went one step further. This is industrial-grade, meaning it’s ultra resistant to damages and provided great surge protection. This also includes a 7-day training course for you to use with your pup if you’re just training them for the first time and a one-year warranty on the entire system.
Auto-adjusts to your dog, providing an adequate static shock
You can sync up an unlimited number of collars to this, perfect if you own more than one pup
Includes 500 feet of industrial copper wiring
Great for up to 1/3 an acre of land
One-year replacement warranty
- BrandSit Boo-Boo
- Weight4.2 lbs
This is an add-on piece that can pair with any YardMaxx or PetSafe existing invisible fence. If you want to upgrade your current setup to accommodate to two dogs, this is the way to do it. You get two extra batteries, as well as four correctio levels and compatibility with every single PetSafe product we’ve shown you on this list. Include your second dog, all without reducing the range of your existing invisible fence or requiring an upgrade.
Includes two collar batteries
Four correction levels
Comfortable nylon collar strap
- Weight2.4 oz
There’s no doubt that the two reigning champs on this list are PetSafe and Sit Boo-Boo, and we want to show you exactly why. This extremely cost-effective product gives you up to 2/3 an acre of range, all running on the very best wiring system that money can buy. They use industrial grade-grade copper wiring, so even if you leave it above ground, it’s going to take a whole lot of damage to cause a line break.
There’s a fairly quick setup time, and five correction levels on your rechargeable collar. If you run into any problems, Sit Boo-Boo offers an astounding lifetime replacement warranty on this electric dog fence, so you can rest easy knowing you’ve gone with one of the most reliable and trustworthy brands out there.
Collar offers five correction levels
Average setup of 60-90 minutes
Industrial-grade underground copper wire system
955 feet of cables, equating to roughly 2/3 an acre of land
Lifetime replacement warranty offered by Sit Boo-Boo
- BrandSit Boo-Boo
- Weight2.76 lbs
Pet Control HQ went straightforward with this fantastic system. They believe that you need more options when it comes to the correction on your pup, which is why they not only provide ten different correction levels, but also ten vibration levels or a more subtle method of training. This system is built for roughly 1/3 an acre but can expand up to ten acres with additional wiring purchased separately.a
That collar with the awesome settings/ Yeah, it’s also waterproof. You get an IPX7 waterproof rating, which is one of the absolute best available for electronics. You can also sync up to three collars (comes with two in the package) to this unit, giving you ample space to let your budding family of canine companions roam free and easy.
Syncs up to three collars at once for the maximum range
IPX7 waterproof rating on the collar
10 correction and vibration levels
Expandable up to 10 acres in total
- BrandPet Control HQ
- Weight4.8 lbs
This simple system gives you a decent range of play, allowing your pup a third an acre to roam around and enjoy themselves. If you love this system, you can expand it up to a full acre in the future. This collar is not only waterproof, not only rechargeable with a three-week average battery life, but it’s also built with five different correction levels. Designed to fit any dog over 5 lbs, it sits comfortably and provides the perfect connection to the main receiver.
Built for up to 1/3 of an acre, expandable up to one full acre
Waterproof + rechargeable collar
Collar fits any dog over 5 lbs, up to 140 lbs
Five levels of correction
- BrandFree Spirit
- Weight2 lbs
Getting started with your first one? This is intended to be an all-in-one kit that lets you hit the ground running. You get your cable, plenty of flags, the collar and receiver as well as mountain brackets. If you don’t think you have the hardware available to mount a less-inclusive unit, this is like getting a step-by-step kit that takes care of just about everything for you.
The collar runs on disposable batteries, usually giving six months of charge before needing to be switched out. Span up to a third of an acre, while choosing between eight different correction levels for your dog. Sometimes bigger pups just need a higher setting for it to resonate with them. The collar is fairly comfortable for most dogs, but if not you can always pair it with a simple nylon dog collar from our buying guide.
8 correction levels on the collar
Average of 1/3 an acre of coverage
Average battery life is six months (runs on Energizer CR2)
Includes ample flags to create a barrier
- Weight3.95 lbs
Last but not least, UNM comes at us with a fantastic unit that’s super cost-effective for the budget conscious buyer out there. This thing is simple to set up despite its wide range, meaning you’ll need no more than ninety minutes to get it taken care of and start training your dog to respect the boundaries. Cover one acre of land with ease, and give your dog the room them need to run around safely.
You get two collars with this kit, each with a scalable correction system. It warns them when they exceed the perimeter, and does a gradual shock level to let them know that it’s time to turn tail and head back. If you’re still not certain what you’re looking for in an electric dog fence, check out our buying guide below to find all of the must-haves and aspects that separate these products.
Includes two collars
Vibration warning w/ scalable correction settings
Up to one acre of range
60-90 minute installation process
- Weight2.5 lbs
Best Electric Dog Fence Buying Guide & FAQ
The best electric dog fences aren’t easy to come by, especially when you go through our rigorous selection process. We’ve listed the features we looked for, the ones you should look for, and a ton of information on training and the pros and cons of invisible vs. wired fences.
Features to Consider When Buying an Electric Dog Fence
- Range - For wired fences, you’ll be looking at the total amount of feet of cable provided. Every 500 feet is basically a third an acre, for some reference. Wireless models will simply tell you how far away your dog can get from the transmitter in any given direction.
- Collar Comfort - We don’t want our dogs to be uncomfortable while testing this out. We’ve done a whole guide on dog collars, where you can check out how to determine if a pup really hates their collar and it isn’t comfortable for them.
- Collar Output - The level of shock the collar provides. Larger dogs simply need a bit more of a jolt to correct behavior.
- Price - Price always impacts a purchase, but when it comes to your pup’s safety and preventing them from getting lost, the stakes don’t seem quite so bad. You’ll have to budget a few hundred for a proper electric dog fence, especially if you have to grab a spade to bury the wires or some flags to mark the territory.
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Who Should Buy an Electric Dog Fence
Anyone who doesn't have the money to spend on a new fence for the yard. With an electric fence, it works or it doesn’t What I mean by that is that if there’s a problem with it, the whole system shuts down, whereas, with a picket fence, you don’t always know where that loose panel is. It’s more awareness for you.
Most of us don’t have thousands to dro on a new fence (my neighbor spent close to the five-figure line to enclose his 1.5-acre property). Dog owners on a budget will be able to get some peace of mind and let their pup roam the yard without worrying.
If you love your dog and you want to give them a bit more freedom at home without having to go on ten walks a day, an electric dog fence is what you’re looking for. There’s a bit of training required to get the concept in their heads, but it gives them more outside time without you worrying about them getting lost.
Wireless or In-Ground
Wireless systems are quicker to set up, but give you less freedom in deciding where your specific fence area is going to be. If you have an awkwardly-shaped yard, then you’re going to run into problems where your frequencies are dipping into your neighbor’s yards.
On the flip side, wired fences have a weaker range on their collar, meaning that if your dog just keeps running past the boundary, eventually the shock will stop. Some dogs are intelligent enough to figure this out.
Invisible fences give you more versatility, especially if you end up having to move at the end of a lease. No digging up the yard and miffing the owners, you just pack it up and go. It’s definitely an easier time using a wireless system.
We want to point out one last thing that wired electric dog fences have above invisible fences: faster training. When they can see what’s going on whether it’s through transmitters on the lawn or you prop up some permanent flags, it gives a visual to the dog. “I can’t go there,” as opposed to “Why can’t I go past that big rock?”
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Tips on Training Your Dog for an Electric Dog Fence
First thing’s first: set a timeline. Most dogs take about two to three weeks to train using an electric dog fence. If you’re using a wireless model, buy a small pack of flags to show where the boundary ends, and place them accordingly on your yard. They need a visual. Set how long you’d like them trained by, and keep a reasonable time frame open. We recommend a bit of leeway and giving them three to four weeks to get settled with the concept.
After it’s all set up and your dog’s been watching you from the back door, it’s time to introduce them to their boundaries. Before putting the collar on them, walk them along the flag line (on the inside of the space) and talk to them. It’s been proven that dogs do comprehend enough of what we’re saying when we use proper tones. Get them used to the idea that this is where the yard now ends.
It’s not as simple as just putting the collar on and letting them go. You have to keep them tethered, but with enough space to explore the viability of their enclosure. If the leash can travel about three to five feet outside of the range, that’s good. You’re giving them the small freedom to walk around the yard, but still having that failsafe in place so they don’t just run off.
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Best Electric Dog Fence FAQ:
Q: What is a Wireless Dog Fence, and How Does it Work?
A: Wireless dog fences have a central transmitter that works kind of like Wi-Fi. You have ever been outside of your house, maybe returning from a walk, and you get that notification that you’ve connected to the Wi-Fi? That’s because there’s a range around your home, much like how a transmitter works (albeit with fewer walls to worry about pushing a signal through).
That transmitter sends signals to your dog’s collar, which then provides a light beeping sound to let them know they’ve gone outside of the range. The beep precedes a light shock, so your pup will slowly learn that they need to turn around after the warning sound.
Wireless dog fences work like mild shock collars to train your dog to stay within a specific area of your home. If you have a wide open range in the backyard, this can be a great way to corner off a certain area that lacks a proper fence, and train your pup to stay within. Just be certain to think about your range and neighbor’s houses.
Q: Are Electric Dog Fences Effective?
A: Yes, and they’re often more effective than traditional fences. No dog owner has ever shouted, “Hey, don’t be near the fence,” at their dog. Not unless there’s another dog through the chainlink or you know about a weakness in the fence. Dogs are familiar with a picket fence or a link fence, they go up against it, maybe do their business, it feels safe to them.
Then they dig around it, they pass through it, we’ve all had a chink in the armor in the past and the dog’s gotten out (or at least you know someone who has had this happen). With electric dog fences, they don’t even hang out near the perimeter. Your pup might get curious and find out where their greener pasture ends, but they don’t try to test their luck and push the limits with an electric fence.
Now you might have that dog who doesn’t even mind the shock. Maybe he’s a big one and it’s just not affecting him the same. You’ll be able to turn up the setting to a point that it shows him, “Leaving this designated area is not cool.”
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Q: Are Electric Dog Fences Safe?
A: This is where the debate pops up. Dog trainers weigh in on this, companies lash back, but as a dog owner myself and someone who uses them, I can assure you that they are safe. First and foremost, you’re using it to dually train your dog while preventing them from getting lost. You want to teach them “This is our property as a family, and this is where we remain.”
But are they safe? And for that matter, are they ethical? Any time we use something that provides a bit of a jolt, it’s going to be slightly damning for our dog (at first). Then again, any negative behavior that is met with some form of a solution, whether it’s a tug on the leash, holding the dog back with their collar, what have you, all share that same trait. They show your dog what is and isn’t okay, and don’t provide enough shock to cause them any more pain than a tug on the leash has done.
With all this being said, these are great ways to maintain your dog’s presence on your property without spending thousands to fence in your yard. If you’re training an 8-week-old puppy, electric fences are a concept that their fresh minds can’t comprehend, and it is not the best option for young dogs. Up until about 14 weeks, they’re going to get excited when they see a squirrel and dart off, getting shocked. They are also slightly more affected by the shock than an older dog would be because it’s the same voltage going through a smaller body. Young puppies, not the best idea, but after 14 weeks you should be okay.
The only major issue is that your dog might be hesitant about leaving the property with you for a walk at first. They could assume that a shock will go off, but if you talk to them as you take the collar off, this is usually just a one-time fear that they have before they make the connection.
Q: How do I Install an Electric Dog Fence?
A: We’re going to go over both wired systems and wireless.
Before you begin installation, it’s important to determine how large the area is going to be. Nine times out of ten, we always assume “This will be enough,” then purchase the fence, wait for shipping, and realize we’ve given our dog a very small area to roam around in.
It’s important to understand that if your system has wires, this is going to be a much longer process than you anticipated. Every 500 feet of cable is the equivalent of one third an acre of land. It’s a good idea to grab some graph paper and determine how you’re going to set this up in your yard because you’ll be tearing up turf to do so.
Follow the assembly instructions for your particular unit. You want to test everything out before you dig the trench and bury the wires, meaning this is the time to decide where the transmitter is going.
The best spot is right inside of an entryway: a garage door, sliding glass doors that lead onto your deck, something of the sort. Test it, and if everything works fine, you’ll want to bury those wires 2-3” under the ground. If your backyard has a bit of a hill to it, this can be difficult to determine, and you may want to go 4-6” to be safe. Just be certain to check for any utilities before you start tearing up the earth with the spade.
Wireless units are basically a dream come true. If you look at our top pick, you’ll see that it’s essentially instant, mostly taking up the time to set up the transmitter and determining a range. There are no wires to bury, and the transmitter can be moved, dragging that invisible range with it. These work in a perfect arc around the center of the transmitter, so you’ll be able to move it and set it up properly inside your house, and still, have an effective range with little to no work involved.
Q: Can I Place my Wires Above Ground Instead of Burying Them?
A: You can do this without it impeding on the way your electric dog fence functions, but you’re also making your entire system far more susceptible to damage. It’s not just weather, either. Even if you bury your lines three to six inches in the ground, water still soaks into the soil.
We’re talking about environmental damages. You roll the BBQ grill over the cable, your dog chews it up (the most likely scenario), or a million other things that could go wrong in your backyard.
The other issue with leaving your cable above ground is the potential risk of shock. The cables aren’t really shocking the dog, but there’s still electricity going through them. The backyard is where we put our pull, squirt guns, and we’re bound to run over and tear up the cables at one point. Especially if you have kids, it’s not a good idea to leave these above ground.
Q: How Does Extreme Weather Affect my Electric Dog Fence?
A: Depending on your model, it might render it temporarily useless. If you’re letting Fido out in the yard while there’s a drizzle, and your electric dog fence of choice stated that you need to bury the wires, then it could interfere with the radio frequency.
Most electric dog fences operate on simple RFID waves, which are very susceptible to interference. However, if you bury the wires, there’s less of a chance of things going haywire. Your dog’s collar has the best radio transmitter, and all along the fence wires, they have just enough radio power to detect. It doesn’t take a lot of power to detect when the collar is near, meaning it also doesn’t take much to interfere with that frequency.
On the flip side, if it’s a wireless dog fence, they build them with tougher transmitters that are expected to cut through the chit-chat of a little bit of rain. Wireless dog fences are actually a bit more reliable.
Wind is going to impact either fence type. When winds reach above about 20 MPH, it can interfere with your signals. If you’re getting strong winds, it’s best to take down the visible components and pack it away for the time being.
Our Top Pick
After using them ourselves for an extended period of time, the best electric dog fence has to be PetSafe’s wireless fence. Simple above ground wiring, a reasonable setup time, and a reliable system without spending too much money. We boiled it down to value and how long the product is expected to last, as well as a general user-friendly experience. For both you and your pooch, this is the mildest yet effective electric dog fence out there.