DIY: Invisible Fence

I got this question in my email today in response to a request on Freecycle for an Invisible Fence sign for our yard:
I was hoping you could share your do it yourself experience with me. That is our top priority for projects this spring.

I, of course, was delighted to share our experience!
For us, the invisible fence was our top project to get done before this winter to avoid having to walk the dog in the snow!

We were lucky to get the installation kit off of craigslist for much less than it was being sold for in stores. Even if you do get the kit in the store, the whole do-it-yourself project will be less expensive than having the service install it for you!

Planning where the fence would go, figuring out how to get it across the driveway, and finding a climate controlled place for the base unit were probably some of the hardest parts about the project. Once you have a rough idea of where you want the wire loop to be, you lay out the wire and test the configuration with the collar to see that the range is what you expected. We used a garden edger we borrowed to dig the shallow trench for the wire once we figured out where it would go. The "hard work" is getting down on hands and knees and stuffing the wire into the trench. We bought white flags at Menards and marked the edge of the fence range. Training was straightforward, though I may have been less diligent than the instructions say. Our dog did break the fence a few times to chase our neighbor's car in their driveway, but he finally got the idea & hasn't done that for months. Just yesterday we pulled up the rest of the flags (we were supposed to pull them up a long while ago)

Some considerations:
  • We had to make sure the wire was nowhere near where we would be digging in the future (ie our garden). If we cut through it in the future, it would be a pain to re-lay the wire. 
  • I think my husband had to use a electric saw to get the wire buried across our gravel driveway. With a concrete driveway, I think you have to lay it in one of the seams, but I'm not sure how that works. 
  • We also had to be aware how close the wire got to the house- the signal will come through the wall and shock the dog in the house near windows, if the wire is too close.

Hope this helps! Probably way too much information, but good luck with the project! For us, it was worth it.

4 pennies for thoughts:

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Call around to the rental stores and ask for a 4"cable installer/dog fence trencher. It makes installation so easy you really won't believe it. It has a place to hang the spool of wire, you pull it backwards, it cuts a very small slit in the grass(up to 4"deep), it places the wire in the trench and then it backfills.
In a nicely sodded yard, you barely notice the disturbance and it quickly covers back up with grass.
Another option is to use the landscape staples that they use to hold down weed barrier. They says you push staples flush to the ground and the sod will eventually cover them. Be careful not to nick the insulation tho.
1 other tip I might offer is to purchase a large enough roll of wire to make the loop without splices. The fewer splices they less likely to have a bad connection. I used a heavier guage wire than what came with it too.
Hope that helps. stark1ang@aol.com

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