Underground Dog Fence Installation Tools [+12 Easy Install Steps]

Planning to install an in-ground dog fence and wondering what you’ll need? In this article we’ll quickly review the basics of installing an underground dog fence. Then we’ll cover the different types of underground dog fence installation tools for different yards and setups.

Note: If you click some of the links in this article we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

How To Install An Underground Dog Fence Line

Watch the video below for a quick overview of the steps you’ll need to go through. This video assumes a small yard. Hence it only uses a flat bladed spade for the installation.

For larger yards we recommend buying or renting a trenching tool.

Step 1 – Choose A Layout

The most basic layout is one where you have a single boundary wire going around your yard. The beauty of an underground fence though is that you can use it in so many ways.

PetSafe Basic In-Ground Dog and Cat Fence – from the Parent Company of Invisible Fence Brand – Underground Electric Pet Fence

With the double loop layout you can block off areas you want to protect like a pool or garden. We discuss this strategy in depth in our article on 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

Step 2 – Calculate How Much Boundary Wire

Once you’ve decided on a layout you’ll need to calculate how many linear feet of dog fence wire you’ll need.

Don’t just buy a kit based on the acreage of your property. They may give you too much or too little boundary wire for what you’re trying to do.

Instead, use a tool like Google Earth to draw the boundary line and calculate it’s length. Here’s the basic steps:

  1. Download google earth pro.
  2. Use the search function to go to your address.
  3. Use the path/line function to draw a line where you plan to install the underground fence.
  4. Right click on the line and go to properties.
  5. Click the measurements tab and use the drop down to measure feet.
  6. Use that total measurement as an estimate of how much boundary wire you’ll need. Be sure to buy an extra 100 feet or so as google earth won’t be as accurate as measuring it in the field.
  7. Watch the two videos below.

How to Draw a Line in Google Earth Pro

Use this to draw your underground fence layout.

Measure the Length of the Line in Google Earth Pro

Step 3 – Decide The Method To Cross Driveways And Sidewalks

Crossing driveways can be easy or it can be pretty labor intensive. If you need to tunnel under it then plan on a few hours of work and some specialized tools.

We cover all the tools needed as well as the how to in this article on crossing driveways with in-ground electric dog fence.

We’ll repeat the tools you need for the specific type of crossing below. Use the article above to decide how you plan to cross the driveway. The most commons methods and tools are discussed below:

  • Using an Existing Expansion Joint
  • Cutting a New Expansion Joint or Slot
  • Tunneling Under a Stone Driveway or Driveway You Don’t Want to Cut

Step 4 – Get An Underground Fence Kit With Thick Gauge Wire

Next you’ll need to purchase an underground fence kit and enough boundary wire based on the layout you’ve chosen previously.

We recommend 14 gauge dog fence wire kits as they will last longer underground. Extreme Electric Dog Fence is one brand that uses thicker gauge dog fence wire in their kits.

You can also buy additional spools of 14 gauge solid copper dog fence wire with underground splicing kits to extend the line.

Underground Electric Dog Fence Ultimate - Extreme Pro Dog Fence System for Easy Setup and Maximum Longevity and Continued Reliable Pet Safety - 2 Dog | 1000 Feet Pro Grade Dog Fence Wire

Step 5 – Get Additional Tools

Low Cost Tools For Small Yards

For small yards you’ll only need the following tools:

Underground Fence Kit (transmitter, underground dog fence thick gauge wire, flags, and receiver collar)

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

Waterproof Underground Splicing Kits

Note that most kits come with splicing kits. It’s best to use waterproof ones like the example below. Make sure they work for the gauge wire you’ll be using.

10 Pack PetsTEKÂ Waterproof Wire Splice Kit for Wire Break Repair in Electric In-Ground Dog Fence Systems

Flat Bladed Spade

Use this to dig and 2-3 inch deep line. Bury the dog fence wire no more than 3 inches deep so you maintain a good signal while protecting the dog fence wire from vehicle traffic, lawn mowers, and animals.

TABOR TOOLS Shovel with Straight Blade and Comfortable D Grip 32 Inch Fiberglass Handle, Digging Spade. J212A. (D Handle, Straight Blade) 

Faster Tools For Large Yards

For larger yards a spade can get pretty tedious. It works but it’ll be faster to rent or buy a gas-powered trencher.

Earthquake 23275 Walk-Behind Landscape and Lawn Edger with 79cc 4-Cycle Engine
Use a gas powered edger/trencher for larger yards. No extension cords required.

You can even use an electric trencher to speed things up for small yards.

BLACK+DECKER Edger and Trencher, 7.5-in, 12 Amp (LE750)
Quickly install underground wire with an electric edger. Use this for small yards. Extension cords make larger yards tedious.

Tools For Driveways And Sidewalks

If you plan on using an existing expansion joint all you’ll need is a garden trowel or knife to cut out the existing caulk or junk in the joint. Lay down the dog fence wire then cover again with caulk.

Fiskars, 384220-1001 Ergo Garden Hand Trowel
Red Devil 0646 Gray 10.1 Oz Cartridge Masonry and Concrete Acrylic Sealant Repair, 1 Pack

If the joint isn’t large enough you may need to use a circular saw with a masonry blade to widen the joint or cut a new one.

SKILSAW SPT79-00 15-Amp MEDUSAW Worm Drive Saw for Concrete, 7"

You can also tunnel under the driveway if you don’t want to cut it. For that you’ll need some 1″ PVC pipe, a garden hose, and a walkway tunnel kit. We recommended using a water drill as discussed in our article to make the cut under the driveway easier.

Orbit Nozzle Kit Pvc 1 ", 3/4 " Carded

Step 6 – Layout the Dog Fence Wire

Before you start trenching or digging go ahead and test the system. Always do this before digging. You want to check for weak spots or interference. Examples include underground cable TV lines or other metal conduit that can short circuit or weaken the signal.

Step 7 – Plugin the Transmitter and Activate the Dog Fence Wire

Once you’ve laid out the wire connect it to the transmitter. Plug in the transmitter and turn it on to activate your underground electric dog fence.

Step 8 – Charge the Receiver Collar and Turn On

Install the batteries on the receiver collar and charge it up if necessary.

Turn it on and walk the boundary line to test it.

Step 9 – Test the Boundary Wire

Test the boundary line by approaching it and walking away along the entire length. Confirm the receiver collar is working at all areas of the boundary line.

Step 10 – Install the Wire Using the Tools Discussed Above

Once the test passes its time to start digging and installing the underground dog fence wire. Use either the spade mentioned above or one the trenchers. Renting or buying a trencher will speed things up a bit.

Step 11 – Use Flags to Mark Boundary

Mark the boundary with the kit’s included flags or get some lawn flags as needed. You’ll need this for training.

ACE Supply Marking Flags - 4 x 5-Inch Flag on 15-Inch Steel Wire - Fluorescent Orange, 100-Pack - Markers for Lawn Sprinklers, Irrigation, Property Line, Yard & Garden, Survey Stakes, Invisible Fence

Step 12 – Train Your Dog

Learn how to train your dog on an underground electric dog fence. Then plan to spend a good week or two training them on what the receiver collar means and where the boundary is.


How Deep Do I Have To Bury The Dog Fence Wire?

Bury the dog fence wire 2-3 inches deep to prevent your dog from chewing on it and to protect it from vehicle traffic and lawn mowers.

When tunneling under a driveway, don’t go deeper than 3-4 inches. That will maintain the signal and prevent it from being blocked by the soil and concrete above.

Can I Bury The Dog Fence Wire Across A Utility Line?

Yes. Most utility lines are deep enough that they won’t short circuit or interfere with the signal. This is another reason to only bury the line 2-3 inches deep and to test it above ground prior to digging it in.

If you think you’re getting short circuiting see our article on how to handle cable TV lines here.

Can We Install Some Dog Fence Wire Above Ground And Bury The Rest?

You don’t have to bury any of the dog fence wire. You can use simple garden stakes and leave it at the surface. Just be cautious not to cut it while mowing the lawn. Also check that your dog or other animals don’t chew on it.

GROWNEER 100 Packs 6 Inches Heavy Duty 11 Gauge Galvanized Steel Garden Stakes Staples Securing Pegs for Securing Weed Fabric Landscape Fabric Netting Ground Sheets and Fleece

Can I Run The Dog Fence Cable Through A Culvert Or Drainage Ditch?

Yes, however, if the culvert or drainage pipe is made of metal it could interfere with the signal. Run the dog fence wire through and test it prior to using this path as part of your final installation.