Installing a wireless dog fence is extremely simple, and it’s one of the main reasons people choose these systems over wired underground fences. Keep in mind that the exact procedure will likely differ slightly from model to another, however the basic concept will always remain the same.
Step #1: Finding a Location For Your Transmitter
The first step is finding the right location to place your signal transmitter, also known as the main unit of your wireless fence. Remember that the installation spot will determine the exact location of your containment area (the “Pet Zone”); wherever the transmitter goes will mark the perfect center for the pet zone.
There a few things to keep in mind when choosing the perfect location for the transmitter:
- There needs to be a power outlet close by for powering the unit.
- Ideally, it should be next to an outer wall; the more concrete walls are in between the transmitter and your yard, the weaker the signal emitted by the transmitter will be.
- Any large metal appliances should be kept a minimum of 3 feet away from the transmitter, and preferably 5 feet away or more.
- It should be on the ground floor of your house, between 3 and 5 feet off the ground.
We strongly recommend you read our guide to reducing transmission interference to help you get the clearest possible signal.
Step #2: Activate The Signal Receiver Collar
In most cases you will have to insert a working battery first. Some models come with disposable batteries; these will usually last for 1 to 3 months of use and cost around $4 to $8 a piece. Other collars can either be recharged directly, or come with removable batteries that can be recharged; these collars will usually last for a few days before a recharge is required. See our comparison chart to quickly check the type of battery on 3 of the best wireless dog fences.
Once a working battery is inserted, you’ll either need to turn the collar on, or you might first need to register the collar, depending on the wireless fence model you own. That last step will usually involved simply approaching the signal transmitter with the collar in your hand, pressing a button or two on the transmitter, waiting a few seconds and you’re done – the collar is registered.
Step #3: Set The Radius of Your Containment Area
Depending on the model of your wireless dog fence, the maximum radius you can set will be anywhere between 90 and 250 feet. As of the year 2013, the Havahart Radial 2 model supports the longest radius with the most stable boundary.
The actual procedure for setting the radius will also depend on the mode. On PetSafe’s wireless fences you will most likely need to turn a knob on the control unit, which will have 8 different settings. On Havahart’s fences on the other hand, the radius can be set electronically with the help of buttons and an LCD screen located on the main control unit.
This part is ideally carried out by two people. One person stays in the yard with the receiver collar held at around the same height as it would be if your dog was wearing it. The person in the yard should stand exactly where you want the circular boundary of your wireless containment area to be located, while the other person – inside the house – starts changing the radius of the Pet Zone, until the collar starts beeping. The two people should be communicating with each other via cellphones so that the person in the yard can tell the other person to stop changing the radius setting as soon as the collar beeps. This way you will have set the ideal size of your containment area.
Note: if you cannot hear the beep on the collar, which is normal especially in noisy neighbourhoods, check our Troubleshooting Guide for a few solutions.
Step #4: Setting The Correction Level
This will again depend on the model you buy, though it will generally involve one of the two following approaches:
- Pressing the “MODE” button on the collar and waiting for a flash, followed by a few beeps; the number of beeps will signify the currently set correction level (1 beep = level one, 4 beeps = level four, and so on). To increase the correction level from, say, level 1 to level 3, press the MODE button twice after hearing the signals.
- In some of the more advanced models, such as the Havahart series, you can set the correction level directly from the main control unit (the transmitter) without having to make any changes to the collar itself.
You should not be setting the correction level randomly, however. Please refer to our dog training guide for a better understanding of how to choose the correct level properly.
Step #5: Plant The Training Flags
This is the final step, and likely the most consuming one (could take up to 15 minutes). Please follow these steps:
- With the receiver collar in your hand, slowly approach the zone boundary.
- Wait until you hear the collar’s beep, stop moving, and plant one flag right in front of your feet.
- Back away from the boundary, and then repeat the first two steps again across the length of the circumference of the entire boundary; you want all the planted flags to be spaced around 7 to 10 feet away from each other.
Step #6: Installing The Transmitter
You might be wondering why we are mentioning this step at the end: it’s because you don’t want to mount the transmitter until you have confirmed you’ve found the perfect location for the unit. You don’t want to start by mounting or gluing the transmitter to a wall only to realize that there is too much signal disturbance in that specific spot.
Depending on the wireless dog fence you get, it may either be possible to mount it to the wall using screws, or gluing it to the wall using adhesive strips; sometimes both are possible. You can also keep the unit on a desk or somewhere, as long as it remains in an upright position.
Two things worth keeping in mind:
- Never place any items – be it metal or otherwise – on top of the transmitter.
- Make sure none of the transmitter’s ventilation openings are blocked by any household items.
Time To Train Your Dog
Once you’ve got the entire system installed, it is time to train your dog to obey the wireless boundaries.