Pet Fence System from Angie’s List

An underground or wireless pet fence can be a great option for pet owners who don't want a physical fence between them and the neighbors. You can tailor the layout of the fence to restrict virtually any area you want – so you can run it around the entire yard, flower beds, the swimming pool, or the kid's play area.

Angie's List, the nation's leading provider of consumer reviews, asked highly rated animal fencing companies to explain how they work.

How do they work?

  • Most pet fencing systems work by delivering a radio frequency from a transmitter board to a collar worn by the pet, should the pet enter into a restricted area that's established outside by electrical wires buried underground and inside by small transmitters that can be placed throughout the home to prevent the pet from entering the restricted area. If the pet gets close to the restricted area, he or she will first receive an audible warning followed by a static correction that's customized to the pet's size and temperament.
  • Wireless systems are also available. These do not require wires to be buried, but instead use transmitters plugged into an electrical outlets to create a circular perimeter. This makes them portable, and allows you to set up multiple fences as needed. All pets on the system only need to wear a rechargeable transmitter collar, and just like their wired counterparts, provide only stimulation, not pain, if your pet crosses the boundary.

How much do they cost?

  • Many pet owners turn to pet fencing because it generally costs less than the cost of a traditional fence. Depending on the size of the area being covered, an underground or wireless fence can range in cost from a few hundred dollars to more than $1,000. The collars contain batteries that typically need to be replaced every three to four months, depending on how often they deliver a correction. Batteries typically cost between $15 and $20.

Keep in, but not out

  • Though underground/wireless fences can help keep pets in certain boundaries, it's important to remember that these systems cannot keep other animals out of your yard.

Sit back and relax

  • Unlike some wooden fencing, an electronic pet containment system requires little maintenance. Homeowners just need to replace the collar's battery as directed and be wary of where the wires are buried when digging.

Angie's List Tips: Hiring a contractor to install a pet fence

  • Check before you dig: Before you install any type of fencing, check with your local municipality to see if a permit is required. Also, be sure to verify any homeowner's association requirements regarding fencing.
  • Research the company: Pet owners should only hire a company with a reputation for working with pets in a positive, safe manner. There are varying levels of correction, but training should begin with the smallest level possible and then adjusted to fit the pet's breed and temperament.
  • Ask about training: Pet owners shouldn't discount the importance of training. Before you hire a company to install a fence, ask detailed questions about the level of training that comes with the package. If you're planning to install the fence yourself, be sure you understand how to train your pet to respond, or find a reputable trainer to help.
  • Consult a vet: Pet owners worried about the effects of the charge to their pet should talk with their veterinarian, as well as the fence vendor, to address those concerns. If you are uncomfortable with the system, consider a more traditional fencing option rather than investing in a system you can't bring yourself to fully use.