For dog owners who rent and those who do not want to install a pricey, or unsightly fence, the best underground dog fence can be the perfect solution. These invisible fences are designed to prevent a dog from escaping the boundaries of the yard by using static correction, a painless, effective correction tool that will keep your pup safely within the bounds of your yard. But if you don’t know how a wireless fence works, or you’re not sure which system is effective, shopping for an underground dog fence can be a time-consuming and overwhelming process.
That’s where I come in. I’ve created this buyer’s guide to discuss all of the must-have features to look for in your new underground fence system, how they work, and what the training process looks like. I’ve also tested many of the bestselling systems, narrowing it down to six that have what it takes to keep your dog safe.
Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that includes each of the models on my list, how they rated, and other important information that can help you decide which system is the best underground dog fence for your yard.
Underground Dog Fence Comparison Chart
Best Underground Dog Fence-PetSafe Stubborn Dog In-Ground Fence
PetSafe earned a reputation for producing top of the line systems thanks to their popular Petsafe wireless fence systems, but unlike the Petsafe wireless system, this in-ground system offers better than average coverage, of up to ⅓ of an acre. This model is also specifically designed for stubborn dogs. The receiver collar is highly adjustable, with four levels of correction to choose from. For hearing impaired dogs, the collar receiver has a vibration setting. This fence is very versatile and simple to set up. The receiver collar is lightweight and waterproof and will work for dogs over eight pounds. The collars are compatible with necks that are six to twenty-eight inches. The training program includes white flags that you can set along the perimeter of your yard to help your dogs learn where the safety area is.
- Includes 500 feet of wire
- Four levels of correction
- Easy to install
- Waterproof collar
- Does not work for dogs under eight pounds
While other systems, such as the PetSafe Stay Play wireless can work for some homes and smaller yards, the Petsafe Stubborn Dog in ground system is more reliable and versatile. A Stay Play wireless fence features a circular area of coverage. But this system will work for yards of all shapes and sizes. If you have a larger property, or a property that has many obstructions such as trees, shrubs, or sheds, then a wireless electric dog fence will not work for your property. This in-ground fence by PetSafe is reliable, with a signal that will not be impacted by any type of obstruction. It’s also a steal for the price.
Easy to Install-PetSafe YardMax Rechargeable In-Ground Fence
The PetSafe YardMax gives your dog more room, compared to a wireless fence and you can customize the size and shape of the coverage it provides. This system offers ⅓ acre of coverage, thanks to the included twenty-gauge wire that measures in at 500 feet. If you have a larger property and you need more coverage, you can purchase additional wire for this system. The transmitter is powerful enough to handle up to ten acres. This is a huge selling point for buyers with a larger property.
This fence features five levels of static correction, in addition to an audible alert mode that will help keep your pet securely inside the safety area, without using the correction feature.
The included collar is rechargeable, waterproof, and works for dogs five pounds and up. The collar will fit necks that measure in at six inches up to twenty-eight inches.
- Five correction levels
- Includes training flags
- Easy to install
- Twenty-gauge wire
- Rechargeable collar
- Receiver housing cracks easily
This system will allow you to contain an unlimited number of dogs, with the purchase of additional collars. This invisible dog fence can also be expanded up to ten acres, which is a huge plus for any buyer with a larger property. This underground dog fence is reliable, versatile, and highly adjustable.
Best Choice for Multi-Dog Home-Extreme Dog Fence
This electric dog fence by Extreme Dog Fence can cover up to ten acres of land. It comes with three antennas, updated electronics, and wire check, temperature check, and battery check features. The collars are heavy-duty. They’re also waterproof and can be submerged up to ten feet, so they’re perfect for the dog that loves to play in the pool.
This Extreme dog fence kit includes fourteen-gauge heavy-duty wire, sixteen-gauge wire, two collars, installation supplies, and training flags. This electric Extreme Dog Fence is also covered by a one-year warranty. When the fence is registered, it comes with a ten-year warranty.
- Works for multiple dogs
- Easy to set up
- Heavy duty wire
- Covers up to ten acres
- Seven levels of static correction
- Only works for dogs ten pounds or larger
This in ground fence comes with everything you need to set up a safe invisible boundary on your property. Unlike competing electric dog fences in this price bracket, this system also comes with two collars, so it’s perfect for multiple dogs. The heavy-duty wire, combined with the tough, submersible collars makes this a great set for larger breeds and stubborn dogs.
Top Choice for Large Properties-SportDOG Brand in Ground Electric Fence
This SportDog electric fence containment system is easy to install and can cover 1 ⅓ acres of land for a single pet. However, if you have a larger property, this dog in ground fence can be expanded to cover one hundred acres. This dog in ground fence is capable of supporting an unlimited number of dogs, with the purchase of additional collars.
The rechargeable collar runs on lithium-ion batteries with quick charge technology that will fully recharge the collars in just two hours. The collar has some great warning alert features including an audible tone and a vibration setting, both of which are designed to warn a pet, should they wander too close to the boundary of the yard. The collar is waterproof and can be submerged up to twenty-five feet. This is clearly one of the best underground dog fences for large properties and multi-pet homes.
- Heavy duty dog collar
- Works for multiple dogs
- One hundred acre coverage
- Easy to set up
This SportDog brand containment system is covered by a two-year warranty and includes everything you need to train your dog to stay within the confines of your yard. The manufacturers also went above and beyond to create a training program that’s easy to understand, with the help of one hundred training flags and an in-depth training guide. This system is perfect for properties of all sizes and includes one thousand feet of wire so you can customize the size and shape of the containment area.
Budget-Friendly Invisible Dog Fence-PetSafe Basic In-Ground Dog Fence
This invisible dog fence by PetSafe can cover ⅓ of an acre and includes five hundred feet of wire. If you have a larger yard, you can purchase more wire and expand the system up to five acres. The system also offers four levels of static correction, in addition to a tone only mode that will allow you to keep your pet safe and secure in their designated safety area. This fence is very customizable and allows you to create an electric dog fence that works with the size and shape of your yard.
This underground dog fence also comes with a great safety feature that protects against overcorrection. The automatic shut off feature prevents a dog from receiving an extended static correction, should they remain in the correction zone for more than thirty seconds. This is a must-have safety feature, unfortunately, not many systems offer it.
- Low battery life indicator
- Automatic correction shut off
- Adjustable static shock
- Multiple levels of correction
- Low price
- Difficult to set up
This top brand in ground fence manufacturer has created a versatile system that’s highly adjustable and features different correction levels to choose from. By purchasing extra collars, you can use this system for multiple dogs. This is one of the best invisible dog fences for the pet owner on a tight budget. Affordable, customizable, and versatile, this invisible dog fence system is loaded with some great safety features that are designed to keep your pet safely contained within the bounds of the electric dog fence system boundary line.
Best Waterproof Electric Dog Fence System-Earlyhights Electric Underground Outdoor Dog Containment Fence System
This advanced electric fence comes with a powerful transmitter that can provide coverage up to five acres, using the included five hundred feet of wire. The receiver collars will work for dogs ranging from small to extra-large and comes with a fast charging battery that takes just two hours to fully charge. The receiver collar is waterproof, with an IPX8 rating that ensures the collar will continue working, even in wet environments.
- Fast set up
- Includes fifty training flags
- Adjustable static correction levels
- Collars have an IPX8 waterproof rating
- ½ acre coverage
- Thin wire
The included collars are very versatile and will work for dogs that weigh five pounds up to 180 pounds, with neck sizes ranging from 6.3 inches up to 24 inches. The included wire allows you to customize the size and shape of the coverage area, so it will work great for oddly shaped yards. This invisible dog fence is much more reliable than an average wireless dog fence and includes adjustable features that will ensure your pet remains safely within the bounds of your property.
Underground Dog Fence Buyer’s Guide
Without a traditional fence, keeping a dog contained in your yard can be impossible. An underground fence provides an affordable, practical solution. While it can take two to three weeks to train your dog how to use it, these systems can be invaluable.
Whether you rent a home without a fence, you don’t want a fence to take away from your home’s curb appeal, or you simply can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a new fence, an underground system can be the perfect solution.
Unfortunately, not all fences can offer the type of protection and reliability that you need in an invisible fence designed to keep your pet safe and prevent them from eloping.
If you’re new to invisible fence tech, this buyer’s guide will go over what to look for in this type of pet containment system and how it works. Before I dive into the must-have features to look for, I’ll go over the benefits and some of the drawbacks of this type of pet containment system.
Benefits of Underground Fences
- An underground fence offers many benefits to pet owners. These fences can be the perfect choice if you have a yard that’s irregularly shaped. With the underground wiring, you can run the wire along the perimeter or your yard, customizing the shape of the wire layout, unlike wireless systems, which are limited to a circular coverage shape.
- If you rent your home, your landlord may not allow you to put up a traditional fence. An underground fence can be a great solution and one that your landlord will agree to.
- If you can’t afford a traditional fence, which can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, depending on the size of your property, then an underground fence can save you some serious cash. When installed correctly, these dog fences work well to keep your dogs safely contained and happy.
- Many of these systems are expandable, which means you can increase the coverage area size by purchasing more wire, more collars, or an additional transmitter.
While there are many benefits that come with using this type of system, it’s important to learn more about some of the common issues you can encounter with a wired fence.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Invisible Fences?
- Unfortunately, while many of these ground dog fences do an excellent job of containing dogs, they will not prevent a stray from wandering onto your property. The results of a stray or loose dog coming onto your property can be catastrophic, especially if your dog or the other dog is animal aggressive.
- Setting up the ground fence is going to take some back-breaking work. Depending on the system, you may need to dig three to six inches to bury the wire.
- Unlike wireless invisible fence systems, which are highly portable, you won’t be able to use this type of fence for travel, since the wires are buried deep in the ground.
Now that you know more about the pros and cons of this type of system, below, i’ll go over how an in-ground fence works, what you can expect in terms of components and what factors you’ll want to consider before you buy.
Invisible Fence System Design
A pet containment system is comprised of three components:
- Boundary Wire
The transmitter can be placed in the home, garage, or a shed. It sends out radio signals that are picked up by the dog receiver collar. The transmitter is the heart of any system and is what powers the pet fence. In addition to transmitting the radio signal and powering the system, it also determines coverage range.
With some systems, the transmitter may also control the type of correction a dog receives.
The receiver collar has a couple of metal contact points. These probes are what deliver the electric correction to the dogs when they wander too close to the boundary. Keeping the contact points clean is crucial, since dirty prongs may malfunction. Additionally, it’s also important to keep a pet’s hair short around the neckline. Long hair can impact the effectiveness of the collar since it can prevent the prongs from making full contact with the skin.
Most collars will also have an audible alert setting, which causes the collar to beep a warning if dogs come too close to the boundary line. Some models may also have a vibrating feature that has the same goal of warning dogs that the correction is coming, should they continue to move toward the boundary line.
An underground fence will allow you to keep your pet safe at all times. Your dog will remain in the confines of the fence’s boundaries, so you’ll have peace of mind knowing your pet will not try to leave your property, thanks to the fence’s static correction feature.
If you’re looking for a reliable pet fence, there are many factors you need to consider, before you buy. Knowing more about the features these fences have to offer and how they work will help you make an informed decision that will ensure the fence you purchase will work perfectly for your pets and your yard.
The system’s coverage area can vary from model to model. Some systems have a massive coverage range of several acres, while others will have a coverage area of half an acre or less. If you’re not sure how much coverage you need for your pet, make sure you measure your yard before you buy, so you can choose a system that offers plenty of space for your dogs.
Some systems may only have an audible correction setting to warn your dog that a static shock is coming if they continue to advance, while others will offer the choice between an audible alert or a vibration setting. For some dogs, an audible warning will be enough. If you have an escape artist, then a pet containment system that uses a couple of warning options may be more effective.
Most systems will come with collars that are waterproof, but some do not. You don’t want to invest in a top-of-the-line system, only to have to replace the receiver collar often due to water damage. If your dog is kept mainly indoors, then this won’t be a priority. However, if you have large breed dogs who love to spend hours in the backyard, look for a collar that’s waterproof or, at the very least, water resistant.
Finding a collar that fits perfectly will be crucial. Since the collar has prongs, which emit the static correction, the collar must fit well, with the prongs making contact with the skin. If the collar is too large, the correction warnings will have no effect on the dog. Most manufacturers offer collars in a variety of sizes. Before you order, measure your dog’s neck and compare these measurements to the manufacturer’s size chart to find the perfect fit.
You will find collars that come with disposable and rechargeable batteries. Collars with a rechargeable battery may only need to be recharged every one to two weeks, while collars that use disposable batteries have a short lifespan of three to six months. Most collars will have a battery life indicator, so you will automatically know when the batteries need to be recharged.
Collars in a Set
This is where expandability can come in handy. Some invisible dog fences will come with two to three collars, while other underground dog fences will come with only one. If you have several dogs in the home, then you’ll want a set that comes with more than one collar. Some manufacturers will also sell collars separately, so you can purchase an extra one to ensure you always have a collar charged, or in the event the old collar gets damaged. This will also prevent you from having to purchase an entirely new system.
Even the best invisible dog fence may not be capable of keeping tabs on multiple collars. So, if you’re planning on purchasing underground dog fences that come with one collar/receiver, and buying an additional collar for your second dog, make sure the product description clearly states that the ground dog fence is expandable and supports multiple collar ue. In some cases, you may have to purchase an expansion kit, which will come with an extra collar and more wire.
The best underground dog fences are adjustable and will allow you to set the level of correction, ranging from the lowest, to the highest setting. This can be done based on how a dog responds to a particular level of correction. The same level of correction will not work for every animal. Larger dogs may require a higher level of correction than smaller breeds. Some underground dog fences may have a couple of setting options, while others offer as many as five or seven settings. A stubborn dog who is determined to cross the wire often requires a higher static correction level. If the correction isn’t strong enough, a dog will cross the boundary wire and elope from the yard.
The transmitter’s range and the length of the wire is what determines how much coverage you’ll have with an underground dog fence. The wire must be buried three to six inches underground. The depth requirement will vary from brand to brand, so make sure you check out the installation requirements before purchasing a pet containment unit. The buried wire carries a low level radio signal from the transmitter. The dog receiver collar will pick up this signal. If the wire is buried too deeply, then the collar will not pick up the signal. If the wire isn’t buried deep enough, then it will be vulnerable to damage.
If the wire somehow becomes damaged, the signal will be interrupted, causing the fence to malfunction. A break in the wire can be caused by small burrowing animals, landscaping, or bad weather. To avoid breaks in the wire, I recommend using a wire that’s fourteen or twenty gauge and rated for underground burial. Some electric dog fences will come with twenty-six gauge wire, which is much thinner and more prone to breaks.
Included Training Program
Manufacturers of the best underground dog fences will include a training program with a new underground pet fence system. The training program is designed to teach a dog how to recognize the boundaries, so they will stop as soon as they hear the audible warning signal or feel the vibration. Make sure the program that comes with the system you’re interested in is easy to understand and comes with enough training flags to surround the boundaries of the yard. These flags are meant to create a visual barrier for your pet and are crucial to the early stages of a training program.
Many dogs will catch on very quickly, however, others may need more time to adjust to the boundaries. Good training is crucial to happy dogs and successful containment. If you plan on purchasing an invisible pet fence, make sure you set aside a significant amount of time to train your pet. This is not a set it and forget system. It will take time and effort to teach your dog how to use it and for the system to function as intended.
You’ll want to go with a fencing system that has a long lifespan, one that’s designed to last year after year. Many of the top systems can last long after they have been installed. Low priced models tend to stop working one to two years after they have been installed. Find a fence for dogs that comes with a great warranty, so you’ll have a chance to use the system and return it if it malfunctions.
Wireless Dog Fence Versus In-Ground Dog Fences
Both a dog fence wireless system and an in-ground system come with advantages and disadvantages. In most cases, a wired fencing system will offer a more reliable performance compared to a wireless dog fence. Additionally, wired systems typically have a larger coverage area, compared to wireless fences.
The best wireless dog fence system consists of two components, the transmitter and the receiver. This means you can easily pack up a wireless dog fence system and take it with you when you go on vacation. These invisible dog fences are also perfect for camping trips.
But wireless dog fences are not without their flaws. While a wired ground fence basically allows you to customize the size and shape of the coverage area, wireless dog fences do not. A wireless dog fence has a circular coverage area. This signal can easily be interrupted by obstacles in the yard, such as trees, a shed, or other large structures. Ground dog fences do not have issues with lost signals or dead spots and are considered much more reliable.
Why a Wired System is More Effective
The best wireless dog fence operates via radio signals. A wireless dog fence signal will not work well in yards that are sloped or hilly. Additionally, any obstructions in the yard, such as sheds, built-in barbeques, or shrubs and trees can interfere with the wireless fence radio signal.
Setting up a wireless dog fence can take under an hour, while a wired system’s installation can take several days, depending on the size of your property. Basically, wireless fences may be portable and easy to install, but they’re not quite as reliable as an electronic fence. An electronic fence is difficult to install, but it’s a better choice for larger properties, multiple dogs, and will give owners peace of mind knowing the system won’t fail them due to a dropped signal.
Training Your Dog With Using a Dog Containment System Program
You cannot set up an invisible dog fence and place your dog outside, expecting them to know that they now must remain within certain boundaries on your property. That is just a recipe for disaster. Without proper training, a dog will not understand why they are being corrected by the collar. In some cases, dogs that are not trained correctly will become so scared of the static correction that they will refuse to go outside.
Of course, all dog owners want to avoid traumatizing their dogs. The point of investing in a ground fence for dogs is to allow a dog to frolic around the yard safely, not to terrify them and cause unwanted behaviors.
As I mentioned earlier, each ground fence for dogs will come with a program that you can start using as soon as your system has been installed and you have the included boundary flags set up. Below, you’ll find a rundown of how these pet containment systems work.
Set Up and Installation
After a fence has been installed, the next step is setting up the flags along the yard’s perimeter. I recommend spacing each of the flags approximately ten feet apart. If you have a very large yard, you may need to purchase extra training flags in order to properly mark the yard’s boundary lines and to avoid confusing your dog.
Using Audible Warnings
Do not start the training process using the static correction. Instead, set it to the audible warning or vibration setting only. Put a leash on your dog and walk them around the yard. Head toward the flagged boundary area. When the collar emits the audible warning as your dog approaches the boundary, move your canine several feet back toward the safety area, then use their favorite dog treat to reward them, as well as plenty of verbal praise.
Repeat this process until your dog resists approaching the flags. This step can take several days, or even weeks, if you have a stubborn, determined dog.
Add Static Correction
Once your dogs have made the connection that getting too close to the flags will cause the audible warning, it’s now safe to switch on the static correction feature. Make sure you have the receiver adjusted to the lowest setting. You can adjust the setting, increasing the level of static correction if your dog completely ignores the correction when it’s on a lower setting. Continue heading toward the flags, until your dog resists.
After training your dog for several days, it’s finally time to test it out. Try it out by tossing a ball or large treat outside the boundary line. If your dog doesn’t go after the object and stops at the boundary line instead, offer them another treat and plenty of verbal praise
Remove the Leash
After one to two weeks of consistent training, allow your dog to roam the yard off the leash. Don’t follow this step until your dog passed the test mentioned above.
If they don’t step over the boundary lines, you can slowly begin to remove flags. Remove every other flag, then slowly take a few flags away each day, until they’re eventually gone.
- Make sure you keep each training session nice and short, in order to ensure you have your dog’s full attention and cooperation. A training session should last ten to fifteen minutes. These training sessions should be short to prevent frustrating or exhausting your dog. Frequent, short training sessions will be more effective.
- Make sure you begin every training session with a little playtime. If your dog seems stressed, take plenty of breaks.
- When you take your dog for a regular walk around the neighborhood, always remember to remove their collar, since crossing the boundary line will cause the system to correct your dog. This will only confuse them and can even make them terrified to leave the yard, even for their usual walk.
Read Dog Fence Reviews
It’s no secret that a lot can go wrong with underground dog fences, especially if you’re bargain hunting. Reading dog fence reviews written by pet owners will give you an unbiased look at how each system really works, what you can expect in terms of coverage, dead spots, adjustability, and reliability. These systems should be considered an important investment, so make sure you focus more on quality over price and pay close attention to what pet owners have to say concerning a system’s quality and reliability. Even a high priced system can fail.
Reading dog fence reviews can give you peace of mind, knowing you’ve purchased a system that works exactly the way an electric dog fence manufacturer claims it does, and one that can keep your pets safe and happy as they explore the yard.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Deep Should an Underground Dog Fence Be?
On average, most manufacturers will require you to dig a trench that’s one to three inches deep. However, some systems may require a depth of six inches. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, because if the wire is buried too deeply, it can negatively impact the transmission of the signal.
Can a Dog Run Through an Invisible Fence?
Yes, some dogs will run through the fence, even when the static correction has been placed on the highest setting. They will view the discomfort as the price they have to pay to run free all over the neighborhood.
How Long Do You Leave Invisible Fence Flags Up?
On average, most manufacturers recommend leaving the flags up for a period of fourteen days. However, if you have a stubborn dog, you may need to leave the flags up for as long as thirty days.
The best underground dog fence will keep your dog safely contained in your yard. It should come with a training program that’s easy to use and should include a receiver collar that’s durable and highly adjustable. The systems I’ve included here all earned top marks for their ease of use, adjustability, and the high-quality components. Using this guide and taking a closer look at the systems I’ve recommended here, you should have no trouble finding the perfect pet containment system that works with your budget, yard, and your pets.