How Does a Wireless Dog Fence Work?

The way a wireless dog fence works is simple and even a 10 year old could probably understand it.

First, you have the two basic parts of the system:

  1. The wireless transmitter
  2. The receiver collar

Once the transmitter – also known as the main unit, or control unit – is installed (see our installation guide), you will set the signal strength, keeping in mind that different wireless models allow for different maximum strength settings. Keep in mind that the signal is always emitted in an almost perfect circle, with the transmitter being in the exact middle of that circle. The stronger the signal setting you program, the larger the circle can be. See our wireless fence comparison chart to figure out the maximum coverage (signal strength) of the best systems.

Now comes the collar. The collar has a receiver attached to it, with a battery installed. (The battery can be either rechargeable or disposable, depending on the system). The collar also has two protruding probes which, when the collar is fitted correctly, will come in direct contact with your dog’s neck skin.

The receiver on the collar is constantly intercepting the radio signal emitted by the receiver. As long as the receiver remains within the Pet Zone (the circular area covered by the transmitter’s signal), nothing happens.

If the receiver leaves the Pet Zone, however, the signal can no longer reach it and hence the receiver will lose the signal. Once the signal is lost, the receiver is programmed to do the following:

  1. First it emits a warning beep for around 2 seconds.
  2. If the receiver does not re-establish contact with the transmitter signal (i.e. if your dog does not go back into the Pet Zone), the probes on the receiver will deliver a static correction that will last either until your dog goes back into the Pet Zone, or until a certain amount of time has passed (typically 15 to 30 seconds)

And that’s pretty much it. The static correction delivered by the probes is not painful; it’s just mildly irritating. Think of it more like a tingling sensation rather than a shock. In fact, you can try the collar on yourself – leave the Pet Zone with both receiver probes touching your palm or your neck, and see what it feels like; you’ll find it’s more surprising than painful.

Dog Training is Critical

Remember that no wireless dog fence will work on its own. For your dog to be properly contained, you will need to train it to respect the boundaries of the fence, and to retreat whenever the dog hears the beep / a static correction is delivered. Training your dog to respect the wireless fence will likely take up to 2 months, although it is a simple and exciting process. The more timid your dog is, the faster it will be trained. Make sure to read our detailed step by step dog training guide to properly train your dog.

Make Sure To Minimize Signal Interference

Just like with any radio waves, the signal emitted by your dog fence transmitter can be interfered with. If this happens:

  • The boundary of your Pet Zone can become unstable and the circular shape of the zone can be lost.
  • The receiver could start delivering a static correction unexpectedly, when your dog has seemingly not even crossed the boundary.

To make sure this does not become an issue for you and  your dog, please read our guide on reducing signal interference in wireless fences for dogs.

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