Step 1 Planning the Installation

Mark Your Utilities and Obstacles

811

To have your utilities marked, simply call 811. They will come out and mark your underground utility lines with spray paint or flags. Call early, as it may take up to a week for them to come out.

Should you have any privately-installed utilities, such as gas cylinders or a septic system, these will need to be marked as well. Since underground utilities are generally buried over a foot deep, whereas your wire is only buried a few inches down, hitting these underground utilities usually isn’t an issue.

With that being said, you need to make sure that if your dog fence wire is running parallel to any underground lines, that you separate your dog fence wire from them, by about 4 feet. However, crossing underground lines perpendicular is no problem.

If possible, also mark the location of any low-voltage power outdoor lighting lines, or sprinkler systems as well. If you don’t know where these lines are located, make an educated guess. You don’t want to damage a sprinkler line or low voltage power line. You may decide if you wish to shut off the water and the power before you begin digging, if you aren’t certain where these lines are located.

Planning

Principles of Design

Here are some things to keep in mind when you are planning how to place your wires:

Utility Lines Should Be Crossed at Right Angles

You need to make certain that you don’t run wire close to a utility line for an extended stretch. This is because in some instances, a boundary wire running close to a utility wire can cause your dog fence collar to activate where it shouldn’t.

Round Your Corners

The corner of your dog fence wire should be gradually rounded, avoiding any sharp 90 degree turns. Otherwise, the signal in that area could cancel out.

Establish Separation Between Parallel Dog Fence Wires

Each length of boundary wire emits a signal. If they are running too close together, they will cancel each other out. For this reason, any boundary wires running parallel to each other need to be separated by at least 4 feet. In addition to this, if your neighbors have an electric dog fence, you need to keep your wires separated from theirs by about 6-10 feet.

Diagramming Your Yard

Boundary wire
Whole Yard Perimeter

On a piece of graph paper, draw a rough sketch of your property. It should show any buildings, sidewalks, driveway, gardens and underground utilities. This is so you can figure out where you would like your dog to have access to, and which parts you want him to not have access to.

Make a decision of where you are going to mount your transmitter box. Ideally, it should be located near a power outlet, and must be protected from the elements. The garage is a great place, or perhaps an outside shed that has power going to it.

Next, determine where you will lay out your dog fence wire, using the diagrams below. Your dog fence needs to make a complete loop that starts and ends in the same location. You can use twisted wire to connect your two ends of boundary wire with your transmitter. When twisted wire is used in this way, it allows your dog to cross over it without receiving a correction. More information on twisted wire.

Sample Layouts

Perimeter Dog Fence Layout

Perimeter Dog Fence Layout
Perimeter Dog Fence Layout

The most popular of all the layouts, the Perimeter Dog Fence Layout creates one big loop around the front and back of your home. It allows your dog access to the entire property.

Notice that you use twisted wire to connect the transmitter with the boundary loop that you have created. This allows the dog to safely walk over the twisted wire without being corrected.

Keep in mind that it is a good idea to lay the boundary wire 2 yards back from the road so that there is a safety buffer there. Also, leave at least 3 yards of separation between the house and the dog fence wire on at least one side, to let the dog pass freely between the front yard and the back yard.

Backyard Only Dog Fence Layout: The Double Loop

The Double Loop
The Double Loop

The challenge of enclosing your backyard only is that if you were to create a solid loop with your boundary wire around your backyard, your dog wouldn’t be able to get out the back door without being corrected. Logically, this is not what you want. What to do? The answer is a double loop. Here is how it works. You go around 3 sides of your yard, then double back on the first wire you put down, laying the wires parallel to each other. You just have to be sure to separate the parallel wires by at least 4 feet. If you don’t, you won’t get a nice strong signal along the boundary. In addition to this, you may have dead spots where there is no correction at all. Do you already have a fence in place? In this situation, you can simply begin by running your dog fence wire along the bottom of the fence, and then come back to the transmitter by running the wire along the top of the fence. However, if you have the Yardmax system in Yardmax mode, this layout will not work.

Backyard Only: The Pinch Method

The Pinch Method
The Pinch Method

Again, the challenge of a backyard only layout is that you need the house side of the boundary to be inactive, so that your dog can enter and exit your home freely. In order for the fence to work, you must have a full loop of single (NOT TWISTED) wire. The pinch method is another approach you can take.

The way to make a complete loop, while only giving your dog access to the backyard is to make a loop that goes tight around the front of the house as well. This allows you to complete the loop. However, since it is running tight around the front of the house, it doesn’t allow space for your dog to roam in the front yard.

However, when you do this kind of layout, it is important to do a quick check with the collar inside of the house to make sure that the signal isn’t inadvertently spilling into the house in rooms where the dog will be living. Should there be a problem, just decrease the boundary width, or you can just move the wire a little further away from your house.

Backyard Only: Over the House Method

Backyard Only
Backyard Only

Another thing you can do if you need to contain your backyard only is to run the dog fence wire up high over the back of your house. Begin by running the wire up a downspout on one side of the house, across the gutter, and down the downspout on either side of your house. This vertical height over the ground allows enough space for your dog to get in and out of the back door without being corrected. As always, you need to check your collar to make sure that it isn’t being triggered when your dog comes in and out. Also test rooms near the line of the gutter to make certain there is no signal spilling over into those rooms. If there is, turn down the setting of the boundary width on your transmitter until it doesn’t happen anymore.

The Hourglass Layout
The Hourglass Layout

The Hourglass Layout

In some cases, dog owners want their dog to be contained in their front and back yards, but don’t want their dog to be able to cross freely in between the two. Notice that the 2 loops are connected to each other on the left hand side of this diagram, and that they both meet up at the transmitter on the right hand side. As a side note, where the wires are close to each other, creating the center of the hourglass, you need to make sure that they are at least 10 feet apart so that there won’t be interference with the signal.

One-sided Boundary Layout

One-sided Boundary Layout
One-sided Boundary Layout

Perhaps you live in a rural setting, and all you need to do is protect your dog from going out into the road. In this case, the one-sided boundary layout is what you need. You simply run a long length of twisted wire from the transmitter, out to the road. Next, you create a long skinny loop, remembering to keep the parallel sections at least 4 feet apart so that the wires won’t interfere with each other. It is important to run your loop far enough along the road so that your dog won’t run around it. The only stipulation to this layout is that the twisted wire can only be half the length of the looped boundary wire. For example, if you have a loop that is 100 feet in a circle, you can only run 50 feet of wire back to the transmitter.

Lakefront Layout 1

Lakefront Layout #1
Lakefront Layout #1

If you have a lakefront property, or if you would like to give your dog access to the lake, you have several different options. Please note that there is no danger that your dog will receive a correction while swimming. Your dog’s level of correction won’t change or pose any sort of safety threat. When you incorporate the lake, you need to know if your lakefront drops off, or gradually gets deeper. It depends on what you are trying to accomplish as to how you will lay the wire to incorporate the lake. When you are sinking the wire, it is recommended to run it into a water hose and sink it to the bottom of the lake. This will further protect the wire from fishing hooks and critters.

Simply submerge your extra boundary wire into your lake, at the distance out that you desire. Perhaps you just want your dog to just be able to walk into the lake a few feet for a drink, or to lay down and cool off in the water. Or, perhaps you prefer sinking the wire down 10 feet so that your dog can go for a deeper swim? Depending on your goal, you can decide how much wire you need to sink.

Lakefront Layout 2

Lakefront Layout #2
Lakefront Layout #2

Should you have enough yard space, you can use a double loop approach to create a boundary that is three-sided. Just don’t forget to have the ends of it into the lake when doubling back so that your dog won’t be able to run around the side of the fence.

Lakefront Layout 3

Boat house layout
Boat house layout

This layout is a modification of the first, just incorporating a dock and a boathouse. In this situation, the lake isn’t incorporated in the planning of the fence.