How to Bury an Invisible Fence? — A Simple Guide
Since you found this article, you must be the owner of an outgoing, adventurous pet that just won't stay in your yard who’s looking for directions on how to bury an invisible fence wire.
We’ve all been there — desperate and without any choice but to tie our dog on a chain. Then we heard about this wonderful thing called electronic underground dog fences, and we had the same questions you have right now.First and foremost, let us start by saying — installing an in-ground dog fence isn’t as hard as you might think. No, you don't need a bunch of special tools, you don't need previous experience with construction projects, and you don't need a lot of funds.
How Long Will Installing an Underground Dog Fence Take?
To install an underground dog fence shouldn’t take you too long — providing you have a solid layout plan and some spare time for your little DIY project. Depending on the size of your property, it might take you two hours or a whole day.
The system will work if left above ground — some owners even combine an electric fence wire with a physical fence when their dog is known to jump over or dig under traditional fences.
However, we highly recommend you place the wires underground, since that way, you will avoid breaking the wire by driving over it or mowing the lawn. Also, your pet won't be able to chew on it.But before we dig into how to bury dog fence wire, let's see how the system works.
What Is an Electric Dog Fence and How Does It Work?
An underground dog fence is a containment system that forms an invisible perimeter tailored to your needs. It's safe, affordable, and easy to set up. It utilizes a transmitter that’s plugged into a standard electrical outlet and connected to wires. These are then spread around your property in a custom layout of your choosing.
There are other types of electric dog fences available that are wireless, using just a transmitter, or even Wi-Fi-based models that use GPS. For this post, we will concentrate on how to install an electric dog fence that uses an underground fence wire.
Your pet wears a collar that communicates with the circuit and sends a warning tone or a mild static simulation if he comes too close to the boundary line of the invisible dog fence wire.
With some training and patience, even the most stubborn and obstinate pets will learn that being out of bounds is bad. The most important thing you should know is that the purpose of the jolt is not to inflict pain, but rather to grab the attention of your pet if it's distracted by something like chasing a cute squirrel or a bird.
Why Choose an Inground Dog Fence Wire?
The ultimate goal of any fence is to keep your pet safe from danger, for instance, running across the street in front of cars.
Although a physical barrier such as a wooden fence is generally agreed to work best for stopping your dog from straying from a safe area — there are often various factors that may prevent you from installing one, for example:
Rules of a homeowner’s association.
Local building codes.
Landlord of a rented property who objects to you building a fence.
The choice of an invisible dog fence system can also come down to budget. An electric fence will normally be much less expensive than a physical barrier, which can run up costs of thousands of dollars.
Want something visual? Check out our infographic on the Pros and Cons of an Invisible Dog Fence.
How To Bury Dog Fence Wire – Before You Start
After purchasing and unpacking your unit, the first thing you want to do is grab the user manual and read all the instructions on how to install an underground dog fence. It is of utmost importance that you do this first. You'll gain more insight into your new product and get a better understanding of how the invisible fence wire works and what features it has.
These manuals usually show some basic templates that could help you draw out your custom layout for your yard. Some of the default layouts are:
Full Yard — Covers the entire yard, giving your pet the most freedom to roam around, while not leaving the property.
Yard With Exclusionary Zones — Use this layout if you want to keep your pet out of some specific areas (gardens, flowerbeds, pool area, etc.)
Split Yard — You might want to keep your dog either in the front yard or backyard.
These are just a few, but you can get creative as long as you follow one basic rule — you must create a continuous loop when burying the electric dog fence wire. What that means is — the wire that comes out of the transmitter has to come all the way around and back.
Many commercially available underground dog fence kits, such as the Radio Wave Electric Dog Fence System by FunAce, are typically supplied with enough cable to accommodate your average backyard of a third of an acre or a 1000-foot spool.
If you need help with picking the right product for you — we’ve put together a list of top units on the market right now.
Installing Invisible Fence Wire — What You Will Need
Although you may not need specialized tools to bury dog fence wire, depending on your location, having the following tools on standby can help:
Selection of driver bits — for installing the transmitter unit.
Circular saw and diamond masonry blade — if installing under concrete.
Premixed concrete — for filling concrete gaps.
0.75 inch PVC pipe — if installing under gravel pathways.
Wire connectors and cover caps.
Shovel or hedging trowel.
Trencher or power edger — useful if covering larger areas.
How To Install Underground Dog Fence
Step 1 — Installing the Transmitter Unit
Before you start to bury the electric dog fence wire, decide where to install the transmitter unit. The most suitable location would be your garage, but your basement or even a covered outbuilding will work too — just somewhere it will not get wet.
Using your electric drill, securely attach the transmitter to a surface that’s well-protected from outdoor weather and has a power supply within the vicinity.
Avoid placing the transmitter close to any electrical appliances — such as a washing machine or electrical panels, which may cause interference.
Always install a surge protector to the power supply to protect the transmitter from any random lightning strikes.
Step 2 – Plan Your Electric Dog Fence Layout
Once you have mounted the transmitter on the wall in a well-ventilated room that will protect it from the elements, you will want to map everything out.
Spread the wire above ground first and test the system before digging any trenches.
If any extra wiring is needed — splice the wires using a cable splicing kit and reconnect using wire connectors (reinforced with silicone caulk). Wrap the wires securely in waterproof electrical tape before you bury them.
If you want an area where your dog can cross over the cable, there is a simple way to cancel out the signal by twisting the wire. This is important when you want to run the wire between the perimeter line and the transmitter. Also, this will come in handy if you want to exclude some zones.
Now, walk around with the collar turned on. Using the test light strip that’s included with the unit, check if everything is working as intended. Be sure to try out different transmitter settings that determine the distance before your pet gets a static simulation. This way you'll know for sure you got everything right.
Step 3 — Bury the Wire
The easiest way to bury dog fence wire is to rent or borrow a trencher tool — if you own a 20-acre property, you might want to consider leasing one of these. They’re super easy to use and will save you a lot of time. You could even fashion a homemade wire trencher using an edging shovel and some wire piping!
If you want to do it the old-fashioned way — grab a shovel blade from your garage or, better yet, an edging tool, if you have one lying around.
Start digging shallow 1 to 3-inch deep trenches and insert the wire.
When done, cover it with dirt and give it a tap using your foot.
A common challenge you might encounter is running the wire over a driveway or sidewalk that’s usually made out of concrete.
Concrete driveways often have expansion joints that you can use to place the wire. However, if this isn’t the case, you’re going to have to use a circular saw equipped with a diamond masonry blade to create a groove for the wire.
Place the wire into the trench you’ve cut. Test the circuit (see step 4) before filling and making good with some form of cement patching compound to secure the wire.
If you have an area of loose gravel, such as a gravel pathway, don't be tempted to simply dig a channel in the soil below the gravel. When the path is walked over, loose stones may dig into the ground and either dislodge or damage the cable below.
Use some 0.75-inch PVC tubing or pipe and tap into the surface below the loose gravel to protect the wire.
Wrap some tape around the tube’s leading opening to avoid debris or loose soil collecting in the tube.
Once the piping is fully underground, remove the tape and run the invisible fence wire through the pipe to connect with the main loop.
Step 4 - Connect the Transmitter Unit and Test
Following the manufacturer’s manual — hook up both ends of the looped wire to the installed transmitter unit, and check the battery still has charge in the dog collar.
Walk around the boundary line holding the collar in your hand. Check that you can either hear the audible signal or feel the vibration when you cross the boundary of the underground dog fence. Any areas where you have placed a twisted wire should not alert the collar as you pass over it.
Take note if you think the vibration is too strong for your pooch, or if you can’t feel it at all, and calibrate the signal accordingly.
Dog Fence Training Is Important
So now you have a better understanding of how to bury dog fence wire and get your new system operational in no time. We hope that this article will jump-start your little project.
But, there is something you need to know before even making that purchase. The most important part is having the patience and will to invest the time to train your dog. This is absolutely critical if you want this to work out for you and your furry friend.
Be sure to use the included training flags as a visual representation of the boundary line. This will speed up the training process tremendously.
Do 15-minute interval training a couple of times a day, and you will surely have results in a week or so.
Start by slowly introducing your pet to the boundary line. And, remember to use positive reinforcement to your full advantage during the training session.
To learn more, read our in-depth guide on How To Train a Dog With an Invisible Fence.
An invisible dog fence wire is an effective way of preventing your pup from straying outside your yard. Yet, many pet owners can be put off by how complicated they perceive the set-up. Although they can be less expensive than traditional physical barriers, if you need to call out a professional for installation, the costs soon mount up.
Hopefully, our guide on how to bury an invisible fence has shown just how easy it can be to hide those boundary cables in your backyard or garden. Depending on the size of the area you intend to cover, you shouldn’t need much more than a long afternoon and a few tools you may already have at home. Why not call a neighbor to help and make a day of it — it’s the training that will take longer!
How To Install an Underground Dog Fence FAQs
What Is the Best Wire for Underground Dog Fence Systems?
Many of the spools of cable supplied with a pre-packaged invisible fence kit will be a 20-gauge wire with a thin vinyl coating. However, we’d suggest using a thicker 14-gauge wire. This means your invisible fence transmitter doesn’t have to work as hard and will reduce the dog fence buried power usage.
Using about four times the copper of thinner cables, 14-gauge copper wire also has a thicker coating, which will last much longer.
How Deep Do You Bury Underground Dog Fence Wire?
The ideal depth for a buried wire dog fence is anywhere between 1 to 3 inches.
This prevents your pooch from digging it up, or worse, rising too close to the surface where you may trip over the wire or even cut it with a lawn mower.
However, the exact depth may vary based on your soil type and local weather conditions. In areas with extreme weather or heavy traffic, consider burying the wire slightly deeper for added protection.
Can I Bury the Underground Dog Wire in Any Type of Soil?
Yes, in general, you can bury the invisible fence wire in various soil types, including clay, sandy, or rocky soil.
Note — rocky or extremely compacted soil may present challenges during installation. In such cases, consider using an edger to bury wire or a dog fence wire burying machine (a trencher) in tough soil conditions to make the task easier.
How to Twist Wire for Dog Fence Systems?
Using a twisted wire to carry the power from the transmitter to the boundary can prevent the signal from being transmitted to the dog’s collar in the safe area.
The best option is to buy pre-twisted cables. But, if you have some leftover boundary cable on your spool, it’s easy to cut two lengths and simply twist them together. You could even attach one end of the two cables to a stationary post and use a power drill to automatically turn and twist the cables together.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for attaching twisted wires.
What If I Accidentally Cut the Invisible Dog Fence Wire During Installation, Landscaping, or Maintenance?
To repair a broken underground dog fence wire you don’t need to replace the whole system:
Once the damaged section is located, simply dig up that section trying not to disturb any of the larger loop.
Splice the wire back together with waterproof wire connectors.
Use heat-shrink tubing or waterproof PVC tape to protect the join.
Retest the circuit.
Once you’re happy the fence is working again, rebury the wire.