DIY Hot Wire Electric Fence for Dogs in 8 Steps

Are you sick and tired of your dog escaping from your yard? You love your dog very much and don’t want to see them come to harm. If you have tried everything else without success, there is one move that you can make that may well be the right one.

The best move at this point might be to build a hot wire dog fence that will keep your dog safely on your property. This doesn’t need to be an expensive or time-consuming operation. Follow the steps below and you should be able to achieve success in a very short amount of time.

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How to Build a DIY Hot Wire Dog Fence

Step 1 – Gather Supplies

First, you’ll need a roll of hot wire. Some people use poly string because it stretches tightly and lasts for a long time. However, if you’re new to this, aluminum wire will work just as well.

  • You’ll need three 5 foot metal grounding stakes to serve as the grounding for your electric wire.
  • You’ll need three hose clamps, one for each grounding stake.
  • You’ll need four feet of electricity conducting wire. You will then connect the wire from one metal grounding stake to the next until all are safely covered.
  • You’ll need a hot wire tester to ensure that your setup is functioning correctly.
  • You’ll need electric fence insulators. Most people should be satisfied with 6-inch insulators to keep the hot wire 6 inches off the fence.
  • You’ll need an electric fence box to complete the ensemble. A lower watt box, one that is sufficient for dogs, ought to be more than enough for the job. We recommend this model (shown in picture below). It includes 250 feet of wire but you’ll also need grounding rods to go with it. We recommend this grounding rod kit.
Patriot PE2 Electric Fence Energizer Plus 250-Feet Made in U.S.A. 17 Gauge Spool Aluminum Wire for Containing Pets and Keeping Out Small Nuisance Animals
Basic hotwire electric fence kit – Comes with instructions, energizer, and 250 feet of aluminum wire. (Does not come with grounding rod kit which is essential for making this work). Click image to check price on Amazon.
Field Guardian Complete Grounding Kit - 6ft
Ground rod kit (click image to check price on Amazon)

Step 2 – Choose a Fence Layout

Once you have all of the necessary supplies, the next thing for you to do will be to decide where to place your electric dog fence

The easiest layout is to simply follow along the top of your existing fence. The trickier part is connecting the fence line to the control box near your house. You’ll need a choose a safe path so that doesn’t short out the wire (by running it along the ground) or expose the wire to accidental contact.

Step 3 – Install a Weather-Proof Electric Fence Control Box

Your best bet will be to buy an electric weather-proof box that can be safely left out in the elements. Just screw it onto a piece of wood to get it safely wired into the system.

Sunnyglade ABS Plastic Dustproof Waterproof IP65 Junction Box Universal Durable Electrical Project Enclosure With Lock (3.9"x5.9"x2.8")

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Step 4 – Install a Grounding Stake

Your next step will be to place the 5-foot grounding stakes in the ground next to the electric fence box. 

Each stake should be at least 1 1/2 feet apart from the other. You should also make sure that each of them sticks out of the ground a few inches.

Attach electricity conducting wire from one stake to the next. Make sure that every wire you place is wire is tightly secured to each stake. Use the hose clamps to achieve a safe grounding.

Place the insulator into the ground. You can build a cheap one out of a metal stake and garden hose. Just cut off a few strips of hose and place them all the way around the stake. 

This will prevent the wire from shorting out if it touches the stake. Make sure to set the insulator 6 to 10 inches off the ground. We recommend this grounding rod kit.

Field Guardian Complete Grounding Kit - 6ft

Step 5 – Install Insulators Along Your Fence

Insulators hold the hot wire and prevent it from touching the fence and shorting out.

Depending on how large you want to make the fence, they should be about 10 to 20 feet apart from each other.

We recommend using these insulators.

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Dailydanny 100Pcs Electric Fence Insulator Screw-in Insulator Fence Ring Post Wood Post Insulator

Step 6 – Install the Hot Wire Through the Insulators

Now it’s time to string up the primary hot wire. Decide where you want to start and then connect the end of the hot wire to the insulator. Stretch the wire from one insulator to the next.

Step 7 – Connect The Hot Wire to the Control Box

When you get all the way down to the box, you will need to splice the main hot wire into the connector wire. 

You’ll need to cut the wire, which will leave 3 ends that need to be spliced together. You can do this in the same way that you did to splice the hot wire into the box.

Once you have the wire cut, just splice it together with the bit of loose wire that was left dangling from the hot box. Make sure to twist them together to ensure a tight connection.

Tie the splice into a tight knot. If need be, you can wrap the wires together around one end of the string to make them even more secure.

At this point, you’re pretty much finished. Make sure that you fill in any holes around the fence that your dog may have dug. This will cut off any escape routes that they may have been making use of.

Step 8 – Turn On the Fence and Test It With an Electric Tester

Plugin the fence and bring out your dog. Use an electric tester to make sure that all areas of the fence are functioning correctly.

We recommend this hot wire testing unit.

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allsun Digital Electrical Fence Voltage Tester Electric Fence Fault Finder High Voltage 300-9900V Gardening Tools

How Effective is a Hot Wire Dog Fence?

Some people claim that a hot wire dog fence isn’t really the most effective deterrent you can use to keep your dog safely within the bounds of your property.

However, many industry experts strongly recommend the use of this type of fence as the safest way to teach your dog to learn respect for their boundaries. 

We personally believe that a well-made dog fence is the best way to keep your dog secure from danger. If followed properly, these instructions will give your dog a lifetime of complete protection.


What Voltage Should I Use?

Electric fence control systems for dogs and cats use a voltage of 700 – 1000 volts. This low voltage electric fence for dogs is much lower than what’s used for cows and pigs (2,000 volts), horses (2,000  – 3,000 volts), or goats and sheep (4,000 volts).

Will an Electric Fence Keep Dogs Out?

An electric fence is extremely useful for keeping other dogs out of your yard. As long as you keep the fence to a reasonably low voltage, it will prove an excellent deterrent to strays and other animals entering your property.

How Do You Electrify a Wire Fence?

You can use a 6-volt battery to electrify your wire fence. Simply install the battery in a convenient place and then connect the chargers to the wire. 

Make sure to connect the black clamp from the charger to the battery. Then connect the red clamp from the charger to the fence charger. You now have a low voltage electric fence.

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Is it Legal to Electrify Your Fence?

Owning an electric fence is legal in every state if the fence will be on your own private property. However, in most states, it is mandatory to post plenty of warning signs so that people who come near it will be aware. Your fence can’t touch a public road or fence line.

Can an Electric Fence Kill You?

In most cases, the voltage involved in an electric fence shock is nowhere near enough to kill you. This is because an electric fence is usually designed to enclose animals rather than to harm or kill them.

Can You Put Two Fence Charges on One Fence?

This is never a good idea. Only one charger should ever be used on a single fence. Having two or more chargers can result in damage to all of them. 

It should also be pointed out that multiple chargers can cause serious harm to animals and people that come into contact with your fence. A single charger is more than enough.

How to Build a Hot Wire Dog Fence