Responsible pet owners understand that having a safe place for their pet to play outside is imperative to their dog’s physical and mental health. Setting up the proper containment system for your canine companion helps to prevent a plethora of potential problems, such as your pet running away, getting hit by a vehicle, or roaming around the neighborhood and having aggressive interactions with neighbors and neighboring dogs, in addition to helping limit the number of infectious diseases that your dog is exposed to.
It is easy to see that having proper containment for your pet is imperative. However, many dog owners live in locations that do not have a properly fenced in area for their pet to play in. Some dog owners are not able to install traditional, visible fencing, whether that be due to the cost of installation, the time that it would take to set up, or the rules and regulations regarding the kind of fencing that they are allowed to install, where they live.
For those reason and more, some dog owners might decide that an underground electric fence would be the best option for their dog containment needs. But with the overwhelming number of options and information that is available within the market of underground electric dog fencing, it can be extremely difficult to determine which containment system is the best choice for you and your pet’s needs. Eight different underground electric fence systems are reviewed below, in order to help concerned pet owners determine which, if any, underground fencing system will work best for their needs.
Product 1: PetSafe Basic Underground Electric Fence
- Long battery life, receiver collar can last up to two months.
- Fits dogs 8 pounds and up, with neck sizes from 6 to 26 inches.
- Includes a tone-only training mode and four levels of static shock correction.
- Can contain a boundary of up to 1/3 acre with the included 500 feet of boundary wire, and allows you to expand the containment boundary by 5 acres with the purchase of additional boundary wire and training flags.
- Receiver collar is small enough to fit dogs that weigh 8 pounds.
- Receiver collar comes with a battery that lasts up to two months.
- Features a warning tone-only option for training purposes and for dogs that do not require the shock to stay within the designated boundary.
- Some users report inconsistencies and malfunctions in this system.
- Collar is not rechargeable; user must purchase new batteries every time it dies.
- Users report that the collar shocks their dog randomly, and without reason, when the dog is well within the containment boundary.
- Dogs wearing the collar have been reported to cross the designated boundary without getting shocked and/or without being deterred by the shock.
- Users report that the system has been completely blown out and ruined by storm surges, if not powered off and taken off of your pet, this could bring harm to your dog.
- The collar that the system comes with has been reported by multiple users to have plastic snaps that are not as durable as expected, causing the collar to fall off of active dogs.
Product 2: PetSafe YardMax Underground Electric Fence
- Includes a tone-only option and five levels of static shock.
- Works with pets as small as 5 pounds, fits neck sizes from 6 to 26 inches.
- PerfectFit technology lets you know when the collar is the proper size for your dog.
- Provides your pet with 30% more room to roam than the average underground fence.
- Correction free reentry allows your pet to re-enter the containment zone without being shocked.
- Features a “chew-through” alarm that will alert users if there is any kind of break in any of the boundary wires.
- Comes with a rechargeable collar that charges fully within a few hours and lasts for up to three weeks per charge.
- Customizable yard boundaries: use the YardMax mode for maximum play area, or the traditional mode to create a custom layout that matches the uniqueness of your yard.
- System can contain up to 1/3 acre with the included 500 feet of wire, and is capable of containing up to a total of 10 acres with the purchase of additional boundary wire and flags.
- System works with the PetSafe Pawz Away pet barriers, which can be set up anywhere inside your home to keep dogs out of the trash cans, kitchen, bathrooms, and other areas that you do not want them in.
- Users report that the collar has an exceptionally long battery life.
- The “chew-through” alarm alerts users to any sort of break in the boundary wire.
- Allows your pet to re-enter the containment area without receiving a static shock, which is great because many pets will not re-enter their containment if they know that they will be shocked if they do.
- Features an option to set up additional “off limits” zones and barriers within your home, in order to keep pets out of the trash, bathrooms, and any other areas that you may want to keep them from (using PetSafe Paws Away pet barriers).
- Collars have frequently been reported to crack and fall apart within weeks or months.
- Some users report that the collar is more complicated to program than other collars that come with underground fencing systems.
- Several users report that their dogs run across the boundary without being shocked and also without being deterred by the shock.
- Users have reported that the collar has malfunctioned and shocked their pet repeatedly while they were well within the containment area.
- Collars have been reported to be inconsistent, at best. They work one day, then randomly stop working the next day, some collars stop charging, and/or beep nonstop after unplugging.
- The receiver collar features built in lightening protection.
- Made for dogs five pounds and up, fits dog neck sizes of 6 to 26 inches.
- Has four different levels of static shock correction and a tone-only option.
- System comes with an extra small and sleek transmitter box that can be mounted discretely in your home.
- Will contain 1/3 of an acre with the included materials, and can contain up to 25 acres of land with the purchase of additional wire and training flags.
- This system comes with an operations and training DVD in addition to the manual.
- Receiver collar has a tone-only option that will work for most dogs after they have been shocked.
- Users report that the battery included with the receiver collar lasts for quite a few months, and that they can buy replacement batteries for the collar online, for a reasonable price, when needed.
- Several users report that the receiver collar falls apart quickly.
- Some users report that their dog runs right through the boundary.
- System comes with thin, 14-gauge wire that has been reported to break easily.
- One user reported that the shock prongs dug into his Chihuahua’s neck and broke the animal’s trachea.
- Multiple users have reported that the collar is too large and heavy for small dogs, even dogs weighing 5 pounds or more.
- One user reported that their Veterinarian told them not to use this product on a small dog because the electric current in strong enough to kill a small sized dog.
- It has been reported that the receiver collar does not shock the dog when it leaves the yard, but does shock them when they re-enter it, which is a system malfunction.
- A few users report that the system is inconsistent, stating that the collar included with this product malfunctions, or stops working completely, does not recognize the boundaries that they have set up and shocks their dog when he or she is well within the designated containment area.
- Works with dogs 8 pounds and up and fits dog neck sizes 6 to 26 inches.
- Has four levels of shock intensity, with a vibration and a tone-only option.
- The tone with vibration warning mode is ideal for training hearing-impaired dogs.
- Contains up to 1/3 acre with the included 500 feet of wire, and can contain up to 25 acres with the purchase of additional boundary wire and flags.
- Equipped with the highest intensity of static shock available on the market, due to the strong shock that this system administers, so even though it will fit a dog that weighs 8 pounds, it is recommended to use with dogs that are 30 pounds and up ONLY.
- Features four levels of shock and a tone-only option.
- Comes with the 9-volt battery required for the receiver collar.
- Can be used to train hearing impaired dogs due to the unique vibration feature.
- Cost much less to install than traditional fencing, especially the type of fencing that would be required for stubborn or hard to train dogs.
- Users report that the system sometimes malfunctions and doesn’t shock their dog at all.
- Some users report that the boundary wire that is included with the system breaks easily.
- Several users report that the system malfunctions and shocks their dog when not is not supposed to.
- Many users report that the collars and replacement collars stop working quickly, if they work properly in the first place.
- Some users report that large breeds of dogs will still escape the containment boundaries even when they receive the extra strong shock.
- Some users report that the higher levels of shock visibly distress their large dogs, indicating that the high intensity shock might be painful and harmful, even for large dogs.
Product 5: Extreme Dog Fence Underground Electric Fence
- A digital transmitter box that is option rich and offers setting precision.
- Eight different levels of static shock correction, as well as a tone-only option.
- Updated electronics that are designed to be compatible with the collar’s new features.
- Includes 20-gauge high-tensile, solid copper core boundary wire, with an extra-heavy protective jacket.
- Has a built-in battery checking feature that checks the receiver collar’s battery level every two hours.
- Has a built-in temperature check feature and stabilizers that keep your containment boundaries and buffer zones consistent, even in freezing temperatures or in areas with patchy power.
- Receiver collar is the lightest weight option on the market, and is waterproof and submersible in up to 10 feet of water, unlike other receiver collars meaning your dog can swim with this collar on and it will continue to function correctly.
- Receiver collar has a built-in battery checking feature.
- Only system reviewed that has eight different levels of static shock intensity.
- Can contain an area of up to 6 acres with the wire that is included in the standard kit.
- Built-in temperature check stabilizers that keep your boundaries and buffer zones consistent, in all temperature and power situations.
- Only system reviewed that features rubber comfort contact covers to place in order to help make your pet more comfortable while wearing the receiver collar.
- The radio frequency that the system functions on can be adjusted on the transmitter box in order to avoid any interference with potential neighboring electric dog fences.
- Users can set the buffer zone in which their dog receives warning beeps as they approach the containment boundary, from anywhere between a few inches to approximately 32 feet in diameter, depending on personal needs and preferences.
- It is one of the more expensive underground containment systems on the market.
- Several users report that the shock is ineffective at deterring their large dog from leaving the containment boundary.
- Several users report that their pets do not want to reenter the containment area after leaving it, for fear of being shocked.
- One user reported that the transmitter box failed and did not provide any kind of warning or indication of its failure, leaving dogs uncontained.
- One user reported malfunctioning in the receiver collar that caused their dog to be shocked when they were within the containment boundary.
- Some users report that the receiver collars stop working quickly and that this system uses a special battery for the collar that can only be purchased through the company, and is more expensive than similar batteries.
Product 6: SportDOG Brand Underground Electric Fence
- Four levels of static shock options as well as tone and vibration only settings.
- Transmitter box has a wire-break alarm and a built-in protector against lightening.
- Manufacture states that the included 9-volt battery will last in the receiver collar for six to twelve months.
- Designed for and tested in extreme weather conditions, including heat, cold, rain, snow, mud, and wind.
- Has an anti-linger feature that prevents your dog from staying in the warning zone for long enough for the warning beeps to deplete the receiver collar battery, allowing them to leave the containment area without being shocked.
- Standard kit includes 1,000 feet of boundary wire and 100 boundary flags in order to contain a larger that average area of 1 and 1/3 acres, and can be expanded to up to 100 acres total with purchase of additional boundary wire and flags.
- Transmitter features a wire-break alarm and lightening protection.
- Manufacture states that the included, standard nine 9-volt battery will last in the receiver collar for six to twelve months.
- Comes with 500 more feet of wire and 50 more boundary flags than the average standard underground electric fencing system comes with, in order to contain a larger area without purchasing additional wire.
- Some users report that their dog runs right through the shock zone.
- The battery on the collar is reported to be large and cumbersome for dogs to wear, especially dogs weighing less than 50 pounds.
- Users report that a time-consuming set up process for this product if you have to bury all of the wire that is needed to contain a large area of multiple acres.
- Users report that the transmitter and wire system malfunctions after a month or two of normal use, especially in containment areas that are more than 20 acres in size.
- Several users report that the receiver collar malfunctions, and shocks their dog repeatedly, and for longer periods of time than it is supposed to, as well as shocking the dog when he or she is well within the containment zone.
Product 7: FunAce Underground Electric Fence
- Rechargeable receiver collar that lasts up to seven days.
- Correction options are beep only, low shock, and high shock.
- Receiver collar is rated IPX8, meaning it is waterproof up to 100 feet in water.
- The included wire will contain an area of approximately 1/3 of an acre, users can contain a larger area with the purchase of additional boundary wire.
- Adjustable warning zone boundary with a range of two to ten feet enables users to decide what size of warning zone works best for their pet and containment space.
- Comes with high-quality, “burial grade” and “single stranded” 24-gauge copper boundary wire that meant for outdoor installation, and is less likely to break and malfunction.
- Has an adjustable warning zone boundary.
- Includes 24-gauge heavy duty copper boundary wire, meant for outdoor installation.
- Rechargeable receiver collar, one charge can last up to seven days according to the product’s manufacture.
- Features a “truly waterproof” receiver collar that will work even when your dog wears it while swimming, and is submersible in up to 100 feet of water.
- Several users report that the collar breaks and stops working within a week or two of normal use.
- Some users report the receiver collar either does not charge at all or gets extremely hot in temperature when it is being charged.
- Some users report that the wire that comes with the system is actually very thin and breaks easily, causing the system to malfunction.
- Users report inconsistent boundary response and malfunctions, meaning dogs have not been shocked when they are supposed to be, and have also been shocked when they are not supposed to be, some dogs have been shocked repeatedly and in rapid succession, even when well within the designated boundary.
- System only has two different levels of static shock correction, either low or high, and some dogs may require a shock level that is in between low and high. Users who tried the “low” setting on themselves report that it is painful and that they were too scared to try the “high” setting for fear of causing serious damage to themselves.
- Built in surge protection.
- Omits a low range frequency for limited interference.
- Features SmartTrack auto response pet location recognition.
- Rechargeable receiver collar that comes with high-grade rechargeable batteries.
- Seven different levels of static shock correction, with tone-only and vibration settings.
- Waterproof collar, IVP7 rating, completely submergible in water up to three feet deep.
- Manufacture states that this system works in freezing and below zero temperatures, as well as in snowy, rainy, and muddy conditions.
- Features a run-through prevention option in the form of administering a high intensity shock should your dog run through the containment boundary.
- The boundary wire that is included covers up to 1/3 acre of land, system can contain up to 20 acres of land with purchase of additional boundary wire and flags.
- Emits a low range frequency for limited interference.
- Features SmartTrack auto response pet location recognition.
- Has seven different levels of static shock correction, with tone-only and vibration settings.
- The receiver collar comes with a rechargeable battery and one charge on the collar can last up to five days, and usually two days at the least.
- Has been reported to be effective for large and/or stubborn dogs who run through the containment boundary, likely due to the run-through prevention feature. Please Note: the high intensity level of the shock that is administered in order to prevent pets from running through the containment boundary could also be a con of this system, should the shock impact your dog negatively, physically or mentally, discontinue use.
- Several users report that the system stops working quickly, if it works at all.
- Some users report that the power adapters that come with the system do not work.
- Multiple users report that the system malfunctions and shocks their dog when they are well within the containment boundaries, and does not beep or warn their dog, at all.
- Users report that the receiver collar has become stuck on the shock option for :10 second periods of time, causing their dog to be shocked when they should not be, and for longer than they should be. Two veterinarians told one user that a :10 second shock is torture to a dog, and advised user to discontinue use.
WHAT IS THE BEST UNDERGROUND DOG FENCE FOR 2019?
Based upon many hours of extensive research, resulting in the information that has been provided for the eight underground electric dog fence containment systems that have been reviewed above, the best underground dog fence is the Extreme Dog Fence Underground Electric Fence.
This system is the best of these eight options for several reasons. It features one of the smallest and lightest weight receiver collars on the market, and it is the only system in this review that includes protective covers that can be placed on the collar’s electric shock prongs in order to make wearing the receiver collar more comfortable and safer for your pet. Additionally, this system is the only system that includes enough boundary wire with the standard kit to cover up to six acres of containment area. Most kits require that users purchase additional boundary wire and flags if they would like to contain more than one third of an acre of land. Furthermore, this system had the highest customer rating and the best positive to negative review ratio on Amazon, with 442 positive reviews and only 75 critical reviews (at the time that this article was written). A majority of users report that this system effectively contains their dog, which is crucial.
MUST KNOW FACTS
How Do These Types of Fences Work?
How Deep Do the Boundary Wires Have to Be Buried?
In most situations, with most systems, the wires must be buried in a trench that is between one to three inches deep. The reason that the trench containing the wire has to be so shallow is because the buried boundary wires need to be located fairly near the surface of the yard in order for the receiver collar to pick up the signals that the wires are putting out. If the wire is buried too deep, receiver collars will not get a signal from the wires and the containment system will be ineffective.
Do Underground Electric Fences Work for Large Dogs?
Underground electric dog fences seem to be a less effective containment method for large dogs. This is due to several factors. A low-level shock is not an effective method of keeping a large dog within the containment area, whereas a high intensity shock can bring harm to the dog, both physically and mentally. Large breeds of dogs have been known to be intelligent enough to figure out how to escape the boundaries without receiving an electric shock, as well as strong enough to run through the boundary, even with the shock. Furthermore, some dogs, especially large breeds of dogs, have been reported to become aggressive in response to being contained with electric fences due to the distrust and confusion that they develop when they are shocked.
Do Underground Electric Fences Work for Small Dogs?
On the opposite end of this spectrum, some dogs are too small to use these types of containment systems. Even with the systems that are rated for small pets that weigh as little as 5 pounds, many users have reported that the receiver collars are too large and cumbersome. Some users even report that their dogs have sustained injuries due to wearing the receiver collars. Additionally, the containment systems that are made for stubborn or large dogs, such as the SportDOG Brand Underground Electric Fence and the PetSafe Stubborn Dog Underground Electric Fence should never be used for dogs that weigh less than 50 pounds. Even if the system’s collar is made to fit dogs that weigh less than 50 pounds, users report that it is too heavy for a smaller dog to wear, and that the shock that is administered with the systems that are meant to contain large and stubborn dogs can be much too strong for small dogs.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
- A low battery can cause the system to malfunction. Do not use the system if the battery is low and make sure the low battery indicator light is working properly.
- Some dogs will become afraid of being shocked and refuse to leave the containment boundary even when you would like them to, or refuse to reenter it, should they escape.
- It is impossible to know how your pet will react to being shocked, they may start to distrust humans and become aggressive with their handlers and strangers due to being shocked.
- It is recommended that pet owners unplug the transmitter and disconnect the fence during storms to ensure that malfunctions do not occur, causing your pet to be shocked when they should not be.
- When you set up your containment system be sure to test out the boundary area, shock intensity, and frequency before training your dog. NEVER put the collar on your dog before testing these things.
- Users of these systems often report that the wire that is included with the systems, even the wire that is thicker gauge, deteriorates fairly quickly and easily. Users report that the splices in the wire create weak points in the system, leading to malfunctions, and that the supplied connection caps commonly deteriorate completely within five years.
- Some dogs are too smart or too pain-tolerant to be contained by these systems. Users report that smart dogs are able to use the beep warning to determine where the boundary of the yard is that causes the beep, then the dog will proceed to set the beep off until the collar battery dies and simply cross the boundary. Or simply run through the boundary despite being shocked.
- Because the eight systems reviewed are not wireless pet containment systems, users will have to bury wires around the entire containment boundary, or attach the wires to an existing (non-metal) fence. Due to having electric wires in the yard, pet owners must keep a fairly constant and close eye on their pet, as he or she could dig up the wires, chew them apart, and/or become tangled up in the wires, which could result in injury or death.
- The receiver collars that must be used with these systems are not meant to be worn all of the time. It is recommended that you reposition the collar on your dog’s neck every one to two hours, and never allow your pet to wear the collar for more than 10 hours in a 24-hour period. The collars that are included with these systems need to be taken off of your pet whenever they are safely inside. Doing this will not only give your pet’s neck a break from the collar, it will also lengthen the battery life on the collar if you take the battery out of the receiver collar whenever you take it off of your pet.
- You cannot simply set these kinds of systems up and let your dog loose. When using underground electric fences, it is imperative that you take the time to train your pet appropriately along with the use of this product. There are training instructions included with each of the wireless fence systems reviewed. Pet owners must complete at least three, 10- to 15-minute training sessions with their dogs each day, until their pet has fully adapted to, and understands the containment system. Training can take much longer than this and is time-consuming. Even with the appropriate training, users of these products have reported that their dogs are not effectively contained. This could cause your pet to get lost, hurt, or worse.
- Due to the inconsistencies and malfunctioning that has been reported in each of the eight systems reviewed, it is important to make sure that the containment transmitter and shock collar are working properly at all times, and will not shock your pet when he or she is within the designated containment area. Also, make sure that you leave the containment area with the receiver collar and test light tool in your own hand (instead of on your pet), in order to ensure that the collar is working as it should if your pet wanders out of the containment boundaries. You will want to stay outside of the containment area long enough to determine if your dog would being shocked by the collar for longer periods of time, or more frequently than they should be, as some users have reported this particular type of malfunction.
DO UNDERGROUND DOG FENCES REALLY WORK?
There is a lot of information readily available for dog owners who are concerned about the effectiveness and potential consequences of using underground dog fencing as their method of containment. Statistics have shown that underground electric fences are approximately 70% effective. Meaning 30% or more users find these types of containment methods to be ineffective for their pets. If the system is ineffective, users take many risks by relying on them.
According to the experts, here’s why these types of systems do not work and are not a good idea to use even if they do work for your pet:
- At low levels the shock is ineffective, and at high levels the shock is harmful.
- Even if pet owners do not observe any long-term physical damage being done to their pet due to the electric shock training, the damaging effects are very visible to experts, and will increase overtime. Dogs who are shocked will often become distrustful of their owners, and can become fearful and aggressive due to being repeatedly hurt by the shocks that they are receiving.
- This can eventually lead to your dog never wanting to leave your home for fear of being shocked, and if or when you do manage to get them out of the containment boundary, the fear, distrust, and aggressiveness will remain within the dog, even outside of their yard. Dogs receiving shock training at home have been known to bite strangers because they have been taught not to trust humans and believe that any one of the humans that they encounter could hurt them.
- Many dogs feel punished by being shocked for things that they used to normally do without being shocked, such as great a loved one or another friendly dog, that is outside the boundary area. This can lead to much confusion for your pet and can make them believe that nothing is safe, which often causes dogs to become aggressive.
- Studies have shown that even dogs with no prior instances of aggression are much more likely to become aggressive towards family members, loved ones, and strangers due to the confusion, anxiety, pain, and frustration that being shocked causes.
- Many of these systems cannot be used in any kind of rain storm or wetness, and often times the boundary wire that comes with these systems shorts-out or breaks entirely, causing these systems to malfunction and become ineffective, more often than not. Making training your dog to stay within the containment area virtually impossible.
A major issue with underground electric fencing systems seems to be the inconsistency of the receiver collars and transmitter systems. Whether it be due to the battery dying quickly, product malfunction, or boundary wires breaking, every fence that was reviewed here had a few or more users report that the underground electric fencing systems malfunctioned and shocked their dogs when they should not have, or stopped working all together. If either of these things happen, your dog cannot be trained to stay within the designated boundaries, and your underground electric fence is rendered useless. Leaving your beloved pet at risk.
Potentially the biggest problem with using a fencing system that trains your dog to stay in their containment area by way of shocking them is the fact that being shocked may cause your pet to become fearful and distrustful of their owners, humans in general, and of their own yard. Some dogs will become aggressive with their owners, as well as strangers, in response to being shocked due to being taught to perceive everything as a threat. And there is no way to know how your dog will react to being shocked.
Many, if not all of these issues can be eliminated by pet owners using a visible, above-ground fence as their method of dog containment. An above ground fence will also keep other animals or humans that might bring harm to your beloved pets, out of your yard. Unlike an underground electric fence that dangerous animals or people can walk right over. And when you provide your dog with an actual above-ground fence, they do not have to wear a cumbersome, painful, and potentially harmful shock receiving collar. Therefore, installing a proper, above-ground fence is the safest and best bet for keeping your dog contained, happy, and healthy. However, if installing an underground electric fence is your only option for dog containment, the Extreme Dog Fence Underground Electric Fence is your best bet for safety and effectiveness.