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We're thinking of installing an "Invisible Fence" like system to contain our poodles – a miniature and standard puppy. I'm inclined to purchase parts and install it ourselves rather than have a contractor do it. Are there important features to look for in selecting a system?

Some of the features that I think we'd like are:

  • A small, light collar for the miniature
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Battery backup for power outages
  • A remote to disable the system when taking the dog(s) across the barrier
  • Integration with a dog door (collar identifies dog to the door)
  • We have a few related questions that might provided some guidance with tags containment+dogs but I don't see a full answer to your question. I look forward to seeing the answser. – James Jenkins Aug 18 '15 at 10:27
  • Can't answer your question but wanted to briefly note that some containment/control systems can be completely ineffective on very intelligent animals. For example, a dog that is intelligent enough to find a way to take off their collar, move collar-shock-pins to an ineffective place, or rapidly wear down the collar battery so it is inactive. Before installing an expensive system, it's worth considering if you fall into this sort of odd-ball case. – rlb.usa Aug 18 '15 at 16:57
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    Before spending money I'd really think about what you're trying to do. If all you want to do is keep your dog out of the flowers, this can usually be thought without spending any money in a few days. Do you plan on placing it around the borders of your yard, where there is no fence? I'm not sure I'd let poodles run around alone. – Mario Aug 23 '15 at 8:09
  • Why not let poodles run around alone? Mostly the idea is to keep them out of the road while we're around the house. – dlu Aug 23 '15 at 17:12
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You can definitely do this. I installed my system myself about 20 years ago. I have replaced several components over the years, but it has been functioning all that time. I am now starting to train my sixth dog on it. Here are the things I think you should look for and/or be aware of:

  1. First and foremost, the fences work by training. It takes about a month to reliably train a dog, spending time on the training every day. If you do not do this training, the fence will not work. A dog can get through it with just a second or two of unpleasantness, so they can easily run through it. If you try to shortcut this step, you will have wasted a lot of time and effort. I cannot emphasize this enough. Your dog needs to have basic obedience skills -- enough to understand the concept of "stay", even if they are not reliable in a sit-stay or down-stay.

  2. You need to bury the wire at least 4 to 5". If you bury shallower than that, it might be cut by lawn tools (aerator, seeders, etc). Even if you don't use them now, you might in the future. So do it right the first time. You need a small trencher to bury the wire.

  3. Normally, you will disable the system for walks by removing the collars. The collars are not intended to be worn 24 x 7, as the probes may cause neck irritations if worn too long. I have had my dogs wear them for full waking days, day after day, without a problem. So a remote to disable the system is not necessary.

  4. Battery backup can be added with a standalone unit, so it is not important to be an integral part of the system.

  5. Rechargeable collars are now on the market, but they are expensive. I just purchased a pair of them. This expense might pay for itself over time because most non-rechargeable collars use proprietary batteries that are expensive too.

  6. In my experience, you get what you pay for. I bought a low-cost system at a home improvement store, and I had problem with it within a few months (collars that shocked at the wrong time, or didn't shock at the right time, batteries that died quickly, etc). So don't let price be your main criteria.

  7. Look for safety features. My current system (Pet Stop) will stop shocking after a set amount of time if the dog becomes stuck in the trigger zone.

  8. Look for variability for the range of the field, and for adjustment levels in the shock delivered. Of course, the collar should have an audible warning tone before delivering a shock to give the dog a chance to back off.

  9. Look for warranty. Can you get it serviced locally, or do you have to mail it away? If you mail it away, how long is your system out of service?

  10. Make sure the system has a wire-break alarm. If you do accidentally cut it while digging, you will want to know about it.

  11. All systems trigger based on distance to the wire. Some also factor in time spent near the field. This can help with the "smart" dogs who are challenging the system to try to beat it. Make sure the collar has an omnidirectional antenna, so it still works if it get twisted around to the back of the neck.

  12. There are a couple of standard frequencies used, so you might be able to get a dog door that matches the collar. I have not seen an integrated dog door available, but it could be possible.

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If you can make sure these:

  • Distance between your house and street is minimum 20 feet
  • Your area doesn't full of trees

Then you can use wireless dog fence.

The features you need in a dog fence that mostly present in wireless dog fences. It's light weight, easy to install, movable, with power backup. You should read some wireless dog fence reviews to know more about it's uses.

Some wireless fences come with rechargeable batteries and some with replaceable. But replaceable batteries also useful. Specially if you take your wireless dog fence outside home then replaceable battery is needed. And the lifetime of a replaceable battery in collar is more than a month. So it's not a big problem.

Yes you have to spend some times on training because it's all about your dog's response when get close to boundary and gets the reminder.

So these required features are covered by a wireless dog fence

  • light collar for the miniature
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Battery backup for power outages
  • Automatic system shutdown when your dog doesn't return inside the boundary in 30 seconds
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