Upgrading Your Underground Dog Fence without Spending a Fortune
By Ryan Heath
My dog used to be a darter. One of those canines that would see an opening and take off. Heâ€™s been hit by a car twice now, neither really that bad, and has been lost more times than I can count. Even at the old home, where a fence has existed for years, the 100 pound lab would simply hop the thing and joy ride if no one was around. It had gotten to the point that I couldnâ€™t even let him outside unless he was on a leash or tied to something.
Just a couple months ago, I moved in to a new house with a huge back yard. The yard had a great garden on the interior, too. And to my pleasant surprise, the entire perimeter was wired for one of those underground electric dog fences. The former owner told me that the fence had been installed by a local company, and worked great for his fifteen year old standard poodle. Right before I moved in, he taught me how to use the electric fence, and I looked forward to allowing my dog to run free in the huge yard with no chance of escape.
The fence initially worked wonderfully. The minute my dog got that first hard shock, he wouldnâ€™t go near the perimeter of the yard. For a good week, he played around the rest of the property while I tended to my new garden. In this week, my dog never more than edged toward the boundary, and this allowed me to feel safe and secure without having to watch his every move.
Unfortunately, that first week was the exception. After that, I noticed problem after problem with my electric fence. First, the act of keeping my dog enclosed in this back yard seemed to make him more mischievous inside the boundaries, and I came down one morning to find my newly-improved garden destroyed. This caused me to give up on my gardening for the time.
Second, the dog suddenly gained the skill to break free from the boundaries. Even with me watching, he would get a good running start, take off toward the perimeter, absorb the shock and just bust right through the thing. This caused me to turn the power up to high, which increased the shock level to a seemingly unbearable strength, and I could barely stand to watch my dog attempt to break it.
However, shortly thereafter my intelligent canine found a way to break out again anyway. He would approach the perimeter, just close enough to hear the warning tone sounding. Then he would simply sit there and let the thing beep until the battery died, an act that allowed him to run through the boundaries. Isnâ€™t the intelligence of dogs amazing? As much as I wanted to punish him for that, I was actually pretty proud that he was smart enough to figure that one out. Soon, I had no way of stopping the dog from conquering the electric fence.
I called the local installation company to see if they could help. Apparently, most companies are now referring to the product as a â€œcontainment system.â€ I guess â€œelectric fenceâ€ is a little less politically correct. They recommended an entire new setup, including new and upgraded system, thicker wire, and a new wire setup around the garden area, what they referred to as â€œexpert installation.â€ All in all, the cost for products and installation was well over two thousand dollars, which was way beyond my budget.
On the verge of giving up, I ran a couple Internet searches and found some companies selling these containment systems online at a fraction of the cost I was quoted. I called a couple customer service departments and eventually gathered the information I needed. As it turns out, I didnâ€™t even need to reinstall the system. The wire that was currently in the ground would work with any new fence I purchased.
And the new systems had everything I needed. The model I chose has a great feature called â€œRun Through Prevention,â€ which basically prevents hard headed dogs like mine from running through the fence by creating a zone of increasing stimulation as the dog gets closer and closer to the boundary. Iâ€™ve also found this feature to be more humane, as it doesnâ€™t just hit my dog with one hard shock, and doesnâ€™t just punish him for accidentally wandering into the zone. Instead, the level of shock he receives is only increased if he continues toward the boundary.
In addition, the new containment systems have this feature called anti-drain prevention which was created for dogs like mine that would sit in the warning zone until the warning tone caused the battery to die. When my dog attempted to linger in the warning area, he received a warning shock after a couple seconds, which continued until he moved out of the area.
And as for the garden, that part was hardly â€œexpert installation.â€ A customer service representative talked me through a simple installation process, which consisted of me digging up just a foot of wire, splicing it and adding another wire which traveled out to my centered garden, around the beds, and back to the original splice in the wire. And whatâ€™s even better, I was instructed to twist the two wires going to and from the garden, a practice that cancels the signal, meaning the only active part of the wire was the section encircling the garden. Therefore, my dog can run anywhere around the garden until he comes within five feet, and that means no more eating my flowers!
The new containment system was a great success, and my dog now stays within the boundaries, safe and secure. The entire process only cost me $150, a fraction of what I would have paid my local company to come out and do it for me. So if youâ€™re in the market for a containment system, Iâ€™d recommend going through the Internet. These online companies have prices, great products and excellent customer service.
Ryan Heathâ€™s new containment system has yet to be broken by his loving but hard headed dog, Chief. When looking for advice or assistance for a new containment system, he recommends the following websites:
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