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Wired vs Wireless Electric Dog Fence: Which One is Better?

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

dog fence

Dogs love to run, which is part of their nature. But not every dog can be trusted to run around off-leash. That’s why millions of dog owners turn to fences to keep their dogs safely contained as they romp around the yard.

Traditional wood and chain link fences are always the best options, but what do you do if you can’t legally build a fence? Thankfully, there are options available for dog owners that may not have the ability or financial ability to have a traditional fence: invisible fences.

Invisible fences, also called electric fences, are fences that are completely invisible to the eye but work with a system to keep your dog on your property. Invisible fences are either wired or wireless systems. If you’re not sure which system is right for you, here is a guide to wired and wireless fences.

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Wired Dog Fences

What is a Wired Fence and How does it Work?

A wired fence is a type of electric dog fence that is “invisible” to the naked eye. The wire is placed underground and along the edge of your property. The fence system comes with a static stimulation “shock” collar that will train your dog where the “fence” is and a base unit that controls the fence and collar, which can be plugged in inside or outside. This gives your property a completely invisible fence while keeping your dog safely contained.

Benefits of Wired Fences

Wired electric fences have many benefits, especially if your property can’t legally have a fence. They can run along your property’s boundaries with little to no distance restriction, which gives your dog access to the entire yard. Another big benefit of a wired fence system is that the fence base unit is built to handle tough weather, so it can be plugged in virtually anywhere.

Dog longing
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

Problems with Wired Fences

The biggest problem with wired fences is the same reason why they’re perfect for some properties: the “wired” part needs to be buried in order to keep the wire from being damaged. This can be a big project if your property is big. The other big issue with wired fences is that you may have to bend or cut the wire to fit under driveways or trees, so it may turn into a much bigger job than originally planned.

  • Alternative to traditional fence
  • Runs along property boundaries with no distance restriction
  • Base unit can work indoors or outdoors
  • Needs to be buried to prevent damage
  • Can be costly to install underground depending on the property

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Wireless Dog Fences

What is a Wireless Fence and How Does it Work?

A wireless fence is similar to a wired fence, except that it uses a wireless range from a base unit instead of an underground wire system. The range itself is a circular area, so it can cover most of your property. Otherwise, it works the same way in that it has a static stim “shock” collar that trains your dog where the boundary is and a base unit that controls the collar.

Benefits of Wireless Fences

Like wired fences, wireless fences are great if you can’t legally put up a fence for your dog. They’re easy to install because they don’t require digging and work entirely on a wireless signal. Because of the fact that they’re completely wireless, they can be adjusted to fit most properties or certain areas.

Puppy playing
Image credit: jklugiewicz, Pixabay

Problems with Wireless Fences

The biggest problem wireless fences have is their reliability: if the wireless fence “thinks” your dog crossed the boundary or malfunctions, it may accidentally shock your dog. Another potential concern is with the base unit, which can only be plugged inside due to a lack of weather resistance. Finally, the range is cast in a circular shape, so it won’t completely cover your property’s line. This can be especially unfortunate if your property is big and the range is too small.

  • Alternative to traditional fences
  • Easy installation and no digging required
  • Easy to adjust the range
  • Can malfunction and accidentally shock your dog
  • Indoor-only base unit
  • Wireless range may not cover the entire property

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Wired vs. Wireless Dog Fences

Here is a quick comparison of wired and wireless fences:


Edge: Wireless

When it comes to installation, wireless fences are the clear winner. With no digging or cutting wire, wireless is easy to install without spending hours making trenches around your house.


Edge: Wired

Between wired and wireless fences, wired fence systems are more durable. The base units can be plugged in anywhere, while wireless units are delicate and need to be kept indoors.


Edge: Wireless

Wireless fences are much easier to adjust for a number of reasons, but mostly because wired fences are semi-permanent in their layout. Wireless fences can be moved effortlessly in case you’d like to change the range area.


Edge: Wired

Although wireless fence units can be placed anywhere, they’ll never give the same coverage as wired fences. Because it’s a wired system, it can be used for big properties with no range limits that wireless systems have.


Edge: Wired

Wired fences are more reliable, especially in terms of system malfunction. Since wireless fences rely solely on a wireless signal, it may malfunction and shock your dog incorrectly. Wired fences use a completely different system and will shut down to prevent accidental shocks, preventing your dog from being traumatized.

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Wired and wireless fences both have their benefits and disadvantages, but wired fences have the upper hand. They’re more reliable, have no “range” to worry about, and can be installed by professional companies if you’re not a DIYer. However, wireless fences can still be a great option if you can’t have a traditional or wired fence as long as you find a reliable system.

If you’re still not sure where to begin, try calling your local pet store to see if they have any suggestions. Also, there are professional fence companies that specialize in wired fence systems and installations that can help you find the best fit for your property. Finally, always consult with a veterinarian to see if invisible fences are safe to use for your dog.

Featured Image Credit sergio souza, Pexels

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