4 Dogs Pet Tips

How Does a Wireless Dog Fence Work

Smiling dog under a fence

Are you considering putting up a wireless dog fence, but you’re not sure how does a wireless dog fence work? Then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, I’ll go over how this type of invisible fence works, and the pros and cons of installing a wireless dog fence, to help you determine if the best wireless dog fence on the market will be a good investment for your home, yard, and your pets.

How it Does a Wireless Dog Fence Work?How Does a Wireless Dog Fence Work?

Learning about how does a wireless dog fence work will help you determine if an invisible fence system is right for your yard. When you’re looking at a wire pet containment system, you’ll come across some types of dog fences that have wires that must be buried several inches below the ground. While a wired pet containment system also works, as you can imagine, it’s a long back-breaking installation process, that involves burning boundary wire. Burying boundary wire can be a major job, especially if you have a large property. A wireless dog fence really shines here because it’s easy to install and takes a matter of minutes to set up.


A wireless dog fence works by creating a zone around the boundary of your yard. Typically, a wireless fence system isn’t recommended for narrow properties. In most cases, the property must be around thirty feet wide.

These wire containment systems consist of a receiver and a transmitter. The dog’s receiver collar receives a signal, while the transmitter must be plugged into an electrical outlet. The transmitter will send out a radius of radio frequencies.

Depending on the wireless dog fence you purchase, some wire containment systems can be adjusted anywhere from a minimum of ten feet up to several acres, so you can customize the wireless fence containment area. If a pet goes beyond the wireless dog fence boundary that has been set on the transmitter, they will receive a shock. The static shock is not meant to be painful, instead, it’s designed to get their attention and cause them to associate the uncomfortable feeling with walking past the containment area boundary line. Because of this, it’s important to not change the boundary line on your wireless system, otherwise, this can lead to a confused and anxious dog.

Other wireless fence collars will send out a warning beep as the animal continues to move toward the yard’s boundary, before emitting electric stimulation.

Dog Fence Receiver Collar

Golder retriever holding paws on a wooden fence

A wireless system will come with a  special receiver collar. Finding a wireless receiver collar that fits well will be essential to your dog’s training and the effectiveness of the wireless pet containment system overall. A wireless fence collar that’s too large will not work to correct your pup, if they cross the invisible fence boundary line. The wire contact points, or prongs, on the inside of the collar must make contact with your dog’s skin, in order to work. Fortunately, most manufacturers of these wireless dog fences offer collars in a variety of sizes that are usually categorized by breed. Make sure you measure your pup’s neck and compare the measurements to the manufacturer’s sizing chart, before you purchase a wireless fence system.

As long as the collar fits your dog correctly and is able to pick up the transmitter’s signal, a dog can freely run around their yard, without the wireless dog fence correcting them.


The size and layout of your backyard may not be suitable if it’s hilly or sloped. Additionally, if there are a lot of trees in your yard, the trees may interrupt the signal. Large metal objects, such as sheds can also impact the signal, causing dead spots.

While these wireless dog fences won’t work for every yard and home, they’re definitely a great buy if you have a flat plot of land

Signal Interference

To prevent the loss of the signal, the transmitter in the wire pet containment system should be positioned in a central location. A wireless dog fence often works the best in wide open spaces that are free of obstructions.

Wireless Dog Fence Coverage

The biggest reason dog owners decide not to purchase a wireless dog fence is the limited boundary requirements. A wireless dog fence is limited to a boundary that’s circular. This will make it unsuitable in yards that are oddly shaped. This can mean the property lines and shape of your yard may not leave much room for your dog to roam.


A wireless dog fence is also the go-to choice for people who rent or those who don’t want to dig up their yard, like they would have to with an in-ground wired system. A wireless dog fence is incredibly easy to install compared to their wired counterparts. A wire pet containment system  can be installed and up and running in under an hour.

Invisible Fence Portability

Because of their wireless design, you can also take a pet containment system with you when you’re camping, or taking a vacation, just as long as you have a power source available.

Routine Maintenance

A wireless dog fence only consists of two components-the transmitter and the receiver, which makes them basically maintenance free.

In terms of routine upkeep, just be sure to replace the battery in the collar/receiver. Collars that are rechargeable should be charged regularly to prevent the battery dying during the day when your pet is wearing it. Additionally, you may need to occasionally clean the contact points on the collar, which can get dirty and not function correctly, if they get dirty and gunky from a day of playing in the yard.

Wireless Dog Fence Technology

dog in the park

Invisible dog fences use a digital radio signal to operate. It’s just like tuning your radio to your favorite station. However, a digital radio signal is more reliable and stronger compared to analog AM/FM stations.

The transmitter in wireless dog fences broadcasts the signal and is usually installed in a discreet, but central location. The signal field is created in a circular shape that represents the dog’s protective boundary. The receiver in the pet’s collar acts like a radio and picks up the signal from the transmitter.

The Importance of Boundary Flags

These flags are either white or red and are used to help a pet remember the location of the boundary lines around the yard. Think of this as a training system. All pets need this type of visual cue for effective training. As a dog learns the significance of the flags and where the boundary lines are, you can slowly remove them from your yard until you’re down to only a few, and finally none. At this point, your dog will know exactly where the boundary lines are and where not to go. If they forget, they’ll still have the audible warning.

Are These Fences Effective?

Yes. A wireless pet containment system is effective, however, teaching your dog how to use a system is important. You must work with your pet and ensure they stay safely within the boundaries. Many of the leading wire invisible fence manufacturers include a coaching program, complete with boundary flags, that make it easy to train your dog and help them learn their new layout. These wireless dog fence training programs are often designed by certified dog trainers who specialize in animal behavior. Often, these wireless dog fence training programs can be viewed online, or you’ll receive a physical copy of the  program with the purchase of a new system.

All About Electric Correction

When a dog approaches the invisible boundary wire, the dog’s wireless fence collar will provide an audible beep that warns a dog they are about to receive a static correction. Next, a gentle electric correction is released if the pet continues to move forward, toward the boundary line. Fortunately, most systems allow you to customize the level of  correction that’s released, so you can experiment to ensure the collar works and is kept at the right level.

Most dog owners are very concerned that their dog will be harmed when he or she approaches the boundary wire. However, the gentle correction is more startling for a dog than it is painful. Obviously, you don’t want a system that will harm your dog.

Pain-Free Alerts

So, what does a warning feel like exactly? Imagine the surprise of a static shock when you touch a metal doorknob. These collars use electric stimulation that’s very mild when adjusted to the lowest setting. Fortunately, most pets will learn the consequences of crossing the boundary line even at the lowest level. This technology works well to get your pet’s attention, just like a tap on the shoulder. The surprise of the static stimulation can be a very important training tool. When it’s introduced and used properly, incredibly low levels of the electric stimulation will cause stubborn and inattentive dogs to learn quickly where they can and can’t go.

The contact points on the wireless fence collar, also referred to as probes, deliver gentle electric stimulation

Most dogs will learn quickly and once they learn, they very rarely experience the static correction a second time.

Finding the Right Level of Electric Stimulation

Training your dog will start with adjusting the collar so it’s set at the lowest level, when the stimulation is delivered, look for a curious, subtle reaction. A dog may slightly lower their ears, tilt their head, or raise their head. The perfect level of stimulation will be just enough to get a dog’s attention. The dog’s reaction and the stimulation level will be slightly different with each type of wireless dog fence system.

Humane Correction

In the past, many dog owners were concerned about the safety of these wireless dog fences, dubbing them as inhumane since the term shock collar was often used to refer to the correction collar. But as you know by now, a dog is not shocked by electricity.

When used correctly, these wireless dog fences can produce reliable and fast learning, without causing emotional or physical trauma. This is why many trainers and vets support the use of wireless dog fences that use static correction and consider them to be an effective training tool. Now, you can give your pets the guidance and space they need, safely.

Bottom line, wireless dog fences are effective, gentle, and safe training tools.

Works for All Breeds

Dog Jack Russell Terrier in the village is front paws on the old fence

Dogs must be a minimum of eight weeks old to use these wireless dog fences. Dogs under eight weeks of age are usually too small to support the collar’s weight.

While the majority of dogs respect the wireless dog fence as soon as they make the connection between the static correction and crossing the boundary, some dogs will end up accepting the correction as the price they have to pay for getting off the property. In this type of case, you can attempt to retrain your dog to use the wireless dog fence properly, with the help of a dog trainer.

Customizing Safe Area Space

While you may find that one transmitter device creates an adequate safe area for your pet, this isn’t the only option, you can create a more customized, larger space for your pet by purchasing a wireless dog fence system that allows you to combine multiple transmitters per system.

Training Tips

  • Once you’ve decided on a wireless dog fence system and you’re ready to install it, you’ll need to get started with the training process. The first dog fence training sessions should take place when the transmitter is turned off.
  • You’ll first mark the safe area using the dog fence training flags that come with your system. Mark the safe area/boundary area with the flags, then walk your dog around the boundaries. Do not leave much slack in the leash during this time.
  • After walking your dog around the flags on their leash for a few days, your dog will begin to learn the boundary and where they can and can’t go. At this point, you can switch the dog fence transmitter on, ensuring the collar has been adjusted to the lowest power setting. As you walk your dog around the boundary line, let her or him experience the audible warning signal. For many dogs, this type of audible warning will cause them to turn around. After a couple of days, you can switch on the static correction. A day or two of the static correction should be sufficient in teaching your pet the boundary lines of the yard. The next step is removing their leash. This part of the training process can be very stressful for pet owners who are worried their dog will make a run for it and take off down the street. If this is one of your concerns, make sure you have one or two extra family members or friends to help you with this part of the training, so you’ll have more help going after your pet if they leave the yard. Have food on hand that your dog finds irresistible. If your dog attempts to cross the boundary line, pull out the food immediately. This will stop most dogs in their tracks.
  • Most dogs will learn to steer clear of the dog fence boundary and will stop moving forward once they hear the audible warning.

Wired Systems Vs. Wireless Vs. Ground Fence

In ground fences may provide more security, but if you rent or you don’t want an unsightly chainlink  ground fence, a wireless fence will work perfectly. Additionally, wired fence systems may not be an option for the same reasons traditional fences aren’t . A wire system will come with hundreds of feet of boundary wire. This boundary wire must be buried deep under the ground. With a wireless system, you won’t have to worry about digging up the ground. This type of unit is designed with easy installation in mind. Dogs quickly learn the boundaries of a yard thanks to the combination of a training system and a warning tone emitted prior to electric alerts.

A wireless system is a more popular option, mainly because it’s so easy to set up and is designed to keep your dog in the back yard, without a lengthy installation process that involves digging up the entire yard.

Go Wireless

Many of these systems also offer impressive cover that can range from fifty feet up to 1 2 acre. A wired system can be a better option if you want a system that offers a more reliable transmitter signal, since a wireless system’s signal can be interrupted by obstructions on the property or hilly terrain. However, if your yard is flat, a wireless system will work just as well as a wired system and offers fast and simple installation, portability, and will provide a means to an end if you’re searching for fences you can use for your next camping trip or when traveling across the country.

Recommended Product-Petsafe Wireless Fence

If you’re looking for a wireless fence unit that’s earned a reputation or reliability, then this model by Pesafe will provide a means to an end. Petsafe fences offer a coverage range of ½ an acre. Unlike a wired fence system, with this model, you don’t have to worry about burying the boundary wire. Burying a boundary wire around a perimeter or a large property can take several days to complete. This Petsafe system offers a fast and simple installation process. This fence Petsafe system features static free reentry, unlike competing systems. This means your dog will not receive a correction when they reenter their back yard.

Want a Hassle-Free Dog Fence?

Other fences that emit a correction when a dog reenters the property can deter a dog from coming back home. Instead, with this model the transmitter sends a signal to the collar, which will emit a warning alert when a dog crosses the boundaries of the yard. This may be enough to cause your dog to turn around and return to the safe area, without getting an electric warning. However, other pets may continue going. Some dogs are not as sensitive to the electric warning as other dogs. Fortunately, this fence wired system is highly customizable, and will work for breeds of all sizes. However, in order for the unit to work effectively, you must carefully monitor your pet’s reaction when they receive an electric warning after crossing the boundary. If your dog shows no reaction, you will need to adjust the unit, until you’ve found a setting that’s effective.

Invisible Fence Adjustability

Additionally, Petsafe fences also come with a waterproof collar that works for a dog eight pounds and up. The collar is highly adjustable and fits necks that are six inches up to twenty-eight inches. The collar offers an impressive battery life of two months, so you won’t have to worry about charging the collar often. Dog owners can personalize the settings for the collar the pet wears to teach their dog to stay within the invisible boundary line, choosing from five levels of static. Adjusting the collar the dog wears to a setting that’s effective will quickly teach your pet the importance of not crossing the boundaries.

Like many wireless fences, this model is highly portable and easy to set up, so you can keep your dog safe when you travel.


  • Easy installation
  • Compact fence unit
  • More adjustable than wired systems
  • Dog’s collar is compatible with breeds of all sizes
  • No boundary wire to deal with


  • Price
  • Obstacles and hilly terrain can impact radio signal


This fence works to keep your dog in the back yard, safely, without many of the issues you will encounter with a wireless fence that’s not adjustable or suited for both small and large breed dogs. Offering easy installation, these fences work like a charm when set up correctly, without having to spend several hours installing it, like you would  with a wire fence system. If you’re looking for a pet fence that’s adjustable, reliable, and easy to use, then this is the fence you want and need.

Final Thoughts

Ease of use and effectiveness are the two main things dog owners look for in a wireless system. Many of the leading brands deliver, however, you’ll need to do your research to find a system that scored well in these areas. These wireless fence systems can be a great choice for dog owners who don’t want to spend hours or days installing the system like they would with a traditional wire system. Many of the leading systems are also perfect for breeds of all sizes. If you have a large property, these fences can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars and can be used effectively, if you put in the time to train your pet correctly. Overall, you’ll find that your dog will learn the rules fairly quickly, as long as you set up the dog fences correctly and begin by using the wireless fence training flags and follow the included instructions.

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