You may have heard of an electric dog fence, but you may not fully understand the concept. Let’s talk for a moment about how underground dog fences work, and which qualities it should have for one to be considered the best invisible dog fence.


The three main components of an underground electric dog fence are the wire, the transmitter and the receiver collar. Let’s talk a little about each of them.

Dog Fence Wire

  • Dog fence wire encircles your property, representing the line that you do not want your dogs to cross.

The Transmitter

  • Your dog fence transmitter is the brains of the operation. This is the unit that your dog fence wire is connected to. It sends a radio frequency signal through the dog fence wire.

The Receiver Collar

  • This is the special collar that your dog wears. It consists of a receiver that is attached to a dog fence collar.
  • It has a set of metal prongs that must make firm contact with the dog’s neck.

How They Work Together

The dog fence transmitter sends out a radio signal that travels through the wire. When the dog approaches the wire wearing the special collar, it becomes activated when the dog comes too close.

About Static Correction

So, the dog walks up to the wire, he or she hears a beep, and then feels a static correction. This mild, static shock is delivered through the metal contact points that are pressed firmly against the dog’s neck.

What does this feel like? In human terms, it feels similar to when you run across the carpet in your sock feet, and then touch a doorknob.

Static shock can be a little surprising, or annoying to the dog. However, it should never be considered painful or inhumane.

How the Dog Learns

In the beginning, the dog needs to be introduced to the concept before he or she gets punished for breaking the boundary. Some electric dog fence systems have plastic training caps that are used to cover the metal posts during phase 1 of training. Other systems may have a tone only mode, where the dog does not experience the correction, only the beep.

You place dog fence flags around your property, in the location where your dog is going to hear the beep from their collar. To the dog, these flags represent the line that they are not supposed to cross.

Training goes something like this. You walk your dog out on a leash, into your yard. Allow the dog to approach the flagged boundary, (but don’t ever encourage him or her to do so.) The dog approaches the flags, then hears the beep. Next, you pull him back with the leash and say “No” in a firm voice.

This pattern gets repeated until you are certain the dog understands the concept. Next, you add a low level of static correction so that the dog understands that there are consequences for crossing the boundary that you have created for him or her.

What Makes a Great Dog Fence

Are all electric dog fences created equally? No they are not. Just like most things in life, you get what you pay for. What features should a great underground dog fence have?

First of all, think about the origin of the components. Where was the dog fence manufactured? Did it come from China, or is it made in the USA?

Secondly, take a look at how many levels of correction are available. Every dog is different, therefore each dog should be able to have their own correction level. The right electric dog fence will allow you to customize the setting for each individual dog.

The collar that comes with the underground dog fence should be of an appropriate size for the dogs that you have. For example, if you have a very small dog, you wouldn’t want a collar that is too big or too heavy for him or her.

Next, think about how much land you have and if a particular dog fence will accommodate the acreage that you need it to.

Reliability of the system is key. It is a great idea to read the reviews so that you know what kind of quality to expect from a particular underground dog fence.