How Does Electronic Fencing Work

Understanding Dog Electronic Fencing Technology

Electronic fencing has become a popular way to keep dogs safe.  Derby’s Pet Fence has been installing and servicing this type of fencing for almost 20 years.  While these fences are very popular, many people have misunderstandings of how the technology actually works.  Below is a brief and very high-level explanation of the technology that is used.

When you have your dog fence installed, either you or the company you hire will bury a copper wire around the containment area for your dog.  Since the vast majority of dogs come in the house, the wire must make a continuous “loop” and the house must be inside of this loop.  The loop can be any shape and can contain anywhere from a 1/4 acre lot all the way up to a 100 acre farm. 

The key is that the wire must be in one continuous loop – it must start and stop at the same location with no breaks in the path.  Again, the house must be inside of this loop.  For all practical purposes, it’s impossible to just run the loop around the backyard.  The reason for this is that the dog would then have to cross a wire in order to enter the safe containment area.  Crossing the wire has negative consequences for the dog.

Transmitter and Electromagnetic Field

Once the loop is run and the wire is buried (although the wire does not necessarily need to be buried), the wires are hooked up to a transmitter.  The transmitter must be in the house, or otherwise protected from the elements.

The transmitter puts an electromagnetic field on the wire.  Think of this field as a sign wave that is very similar to a radio wave.  In fact, sometimes these fences are called “radio” fences because of this similarity.  This wire does not carry electricity – which makes it perfectly safe.  You can hit this wire with a metal shovel and would not have any issues.  As a matter of fact, you could dig up the wire, cut it, and put it in your mouth.  The wire is really an antenna.  

The size of the electromagnetic field is adjustable and can project from approximately 3’ to 10’ on either side of the wire.  The size of this field width is important, and several things are considered when determining how large to make it.  If you hire a professional company to help you, they will factor in the size of the yard, the temperament of the dog, and several other factors to pick the correct field size for your situation.  

Once this is all set up, the focus is then on the collar the dog will wear.  The collar consists of a fabric or plastic strap with some sophisticated electronics that will react to the electromagnetic field in the proximity of the wire.  You can think of the collar as the receiver (similar to a radio).  When the receiver finds the signal from the wire, it does what it is programmed to do.

  In most cases, it’s programmed to give an audible warning first.  After the audible warning, if the dog does not step back, it will give the dog an electronic stimulation from two metal probes that are in contact with the dog’s skin.  This stimulation is just like what you may have felt from a tens unit at a chiropractor’s office.  This stimulation is often called a “correction”.  It is adjustable and must be set to a level that is unpleasant to the dog and acts as a deterrent.  A professional company will use their experience to adjust the correction level to the level that will act as a deterrent, but not higher than it needs to be.  The correction, while unpleasant, will not harm you or your dog.  

With proper training, dogs quickly learn to stay away from the boundary.  The reality is that most dogs will get between 3 to 7 corrections from the collar during the first week of training.  Most dogs will go many YEARS after the training and never receive another correction from the collar because they respect the boundary and are happy playing in the safe portion of their yard.

If you are in Louisville, Lexington, Southern Indiana, or any of the surrounding areas, Derby’s Pet Fence will be happy to help you with your electronic pet fencing.  We are local and independent company.  We have a real live person answer our phone 7 days a week!  We give free quotes right over the phone.  In addition to installation of new fences, we are happy to service and repair any brand of fencing, regardless of who installed it.  Call us at 502-314-7398 / 859-327-7760, or visit our site at  Prefer email?


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