Underground Dog Fence Vs Wireless

Perhaps you just learned about invisible fences. Then while digging into the research you found the two major types: underground and wireless. So which is better? In this article we’ll give you the pros and cons when comparing an underground dog fence vs wireless dog fences.

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What Is An Underground Dog Fence Or In-ground Fence System?

Both underground and wireless dog fences are types of invisible fences. They use a radio signal paired with one or more receiver collars to create an invisible boundary around your property. When a dog wearing a receiver collar approaches the boundary the collar makes a beep to warn them they are getting close. As they get closer that beep becomes a vibration or electric shock telling them to turn away.

An underground dog fence creates the boundary using a buried wire. A transmitter sends a radio signal through the wire creating the boundary. As you can guess it’s more work to setup an underground fence and bury the wire. However there are a lot of pros to doing this.

Underground Electric Dog Fence Premium - Standard Dog Fence System for Easy Setup and Superior Longevity and Continued Reliable Pet Safety - 1 Dog | 500 Feet Standard Dog Fence Wire

Pros Of A Underground Dog Fence

  • Fits any shape yard – wireless only works in square or circular yards
  • Works better for larger yards and large acreage than a wireless system. Most wireless systems max out at 90 feet of radius. You can link two of them together with 30 feet of overlap to create a wider 150 foot wireless setup; however you can’t expand as much as you can with an underground system. For larger acreage always go wired. See examples of the double transmitter setup for wireless systems here.
  • Can use double loops to keep dogs out of pools or gardens yet still inside the yard (see graphic below for an example)
  • Cheaper than traditional fence
  • Faster to install than traditional fence
  • Maintains views where a traditional fence might block views
  • Don’t require building permits
  • Won’t have problems with local regulations like traditional fence
  • Can be extended to 5, 10, or more acres
  • Can’t dig through invisible fence
  • Can’t escape through open gates or driveways
  • Can be used with cats

One of the best pros of an underground fence is the option for many different layouts. Read more in our underground fence layout article and our article on the benefits of the double loop method.

SportDog Brand In-Ground Fence Systems – from the Parent Company of Invisible Fence Brand – Underground Wire Electric Fence – Tone, Vibration, & Static – 100 Acre Capability – Remote Trainer Option, Containment System

Cons Of A Underground Dog Fence

  • Require a few days and up to two weeks or more of dog training
  • Some dogs require additional distraction training
  • Dogs may run through and ignore receiver collar electric shock if they see another dog, person, or squirrel
  • Invisible fences don’t keep other animals from coming in – they can disturb or even attack your dog (e.g. coyotes go after small dogs
  • Invisible fences don’t keep people from coming in – This can unintentionally teach your dog to be anxious of strangers
  • Dogs may lose social conditioning if they start to get scared of neighbors and visitors who come to the boundary and they get shocked when they want to say hi
  • Flags are used to train the dog on the boundary. Your dog may become scared or anxious of any lawn flags.
  • Power failures shut down your fence
  • Need to recharge and check collar batteries
  • Fences can break and finding the break takes equipment and time
  • Invisible fences can traumatize a young dog or a rescue dog with anxiety or aggression problems
  • Again – shock collars are not good for aggressive dogs! Extra care and training required

What Is A Wireless Dog Fence?

A wireless dog fence uses the same radio signal to create an invisible fence boundary. However, the signal comes from a central transmitter and is spherical in shape. The signal doesn’t travel along a buried boundary wire.

Most units allow you to adjust the radius or size of the boundary. See the 3/4 acre example below.

PetSafe Stay & Play Wireless Fence for Stubborn Dogs – Above Ground Electric Pet Fence – from the Parent Company of Invisible Fence Brand

Pros Of A Wireless Dog Fence System

Many pros of a wireless system are the same as with an underground system. There are a few key differences though. Wireless dog fences are much easier to setup than an underground system.

  • Easier to install than underground fence
  • Often cheaper than underground fence
  • Cheaper than traditional fence
  • Faster to install than traditional fence
  • Maintains views where a traditional fence might block views
  • Don’t require building permits
  • Won’t have problems with local regulations like traditional fence
  • Can’t dig through invisible fence
  • Can’t escape through open gates or driveways
  • Can be used with cats
  • Wireless fences don’t have underground wire that can break – less repair, less hassle

Cons Of A Wireless Dog Fence 

The biggest con to a wireless fence is the max size. They aren’t good for large acreage. Most can’t go beyond 150 feet of radius and keep a strong enough signal to maintain the boundary.

  • Max 150 foot radius, usually max 90 foot radius – not good for yards larger than 3/4 acre
  • Require a few days and up to two weeks or more of dog training
  • Some dogs require additional distraction training
  • Dogs may run through and ignore receiver collar electric shock if they see another dog, person, or squirrel
  • Invisible fences don’t keep other animals from coming in – they can disturb or even attack your dog (e.g. coyotes go after small dogs
  • Invisible fences don’t keep people from coming in – This can unintentionally teach your dog to be anxious of strangers
  • Dogs may lose social conditioning if they start to get scared of neighbors and visitors who come to the boundary and they get shocked when they want to say hi
  • Flags are used to train the dog on the boundary. Your dog may become scared or anxious of any lawn flags.
  • Power failures shut down your fence
  • Need to recharge and check collar batteries
  • Invisible fences can traumatize a young dog or a rescue dog with anxiety or aggression problems
  • Again – shock collars are not good for aggressive dogs! Extra care and training required

Electric Dog Fence Reliability

Invisible fences have several issues, as discussed above that make them slightly less reliable than a physical fence.

While much cheaper to install, especially for large acreage, they do require training. Some dogs also are just too distractable and won’t always keep to the fence.

The other big reliability factor is electrical outages. Are you in a rural area that suffers from power outages often? Keep in mind that each time that happens the fence goes down. Is your property so large that you can’t find your dog quickly when that happens?

These are things to keep in mind when thinking about an invisible fence.

FAQ

What Is An Invisible Fence and How Does it Work?

An invisible fence is a radio signal based invisible boundary that aims to keep your dog in your yard without building a traditional fence. There are two types of invisible fences: undeground fences (aka in-ground fences) or wireless fences.

With an in-ground fence you bury a wire along the property boundary and the transmitter pushes a radio signal along that line. When a dog wearing a receiver collar comes close to the line the collar beeps then delivers a vibration or electric shock (static correction) to signal them to turn around.

SportDog Brand In-Ground Fence Systems – from the Parent Company of Invisible Fence Brand – Underground Wire Electric Fence – Tone, Vibration, & Static – 100 Acre Capability – Remote Trainer Option, Containment System

The electric fence system only works with proper dog training.

With a wireless fence the radio signal boundary is creating using a transmitter alone. It builds a spherical boundary. Again, when you dog with a receiver collar (shock collar) comes near the boundary it beeps then vibrates or shocks.

PetSafe Stay & Play Wireless Fence for Stubborn Dogs – Above Ground Electric Pet Fence – from the Parent Company of Invisible Fence Brand

Are Electric Dog Fences Safe?

With proper training electric dog fences are perfectly safe. They are not suited for puppies, old dogs with health problems, highly anxious dogs, or aggressive dogs. Before using a dog fence make sure your dog is old enough, has had anxiety training or aggressive dog training then properly train them on using an underground or wireless dog fence.

Why Use An Invisible Dog Fence?

Because it’s cheaper and easier to install than a physical fence.

Are Wireless Dog Fences Effective?

Yes, wireless dog fences are effective when properly setup and when your dog is properly trained to use them.

What Is The Best In-ground Dog Fence?

We have several articles that can help you find the best invisible fence for your situation: