When it comes to containing your dog in your backyard, there are many choices. It can be overwhelming, but there are a few important questions you need to answer.
- What is your budget?
- How handy are you or how much time do you want to invest in installation?
- Do you plan to move soon or do you have a second home?
- Would you like to be able to contain your dog when you travel?
Physical Dog Fences
The most common option is a standard physical fence – chain link, vinyl, or wood are a few popular choices. According to Home Guide, the average wire fence will cost $2 per foot, vinyl around $15 per foot, and wood about $25 per foot. They estimate that 1 acre would cost between $1,050 for barbed wire and $7,000 for a split wood rail fence. This is just the cost for materials assuming you can build the fence yourself. Installation costs will vary widely by region, but can add $500-$5000 in costs for an acre. The nice thing about a physical fence is that it will likely add value to your property and, depending on the style, might even keep some wild animals out.
Wireless Dog Fence
If you can’t build a physical fence or don’t want one, you can consider one of the main high tech dog fence choices. There are in-ground, buried wire fences, wireless fences with base stations, and GPS dog fences.
Invisible Fence® is the most popular buried wire fence and is installed by a professional. For 1 acre, it can cost between $2,000-$2,500 depending on your region and the version you get. There are DIY versions of this from PetSafe that you can install yourself for much less. Plan to spend the weekend digging a three-inch-deep trench and laying the wire. Keep in mind that while these systems can be in any custom shape and cover up to 25 acres, they are difficult to use in very rocky terrain or through areas with water. Also, customers report that they can often break, requiring a call to the installer to come fix for additional fees. In addition, the signal is emitted as a circle around the wire, so some tall dogs or high-jumping dogs can jump over the signal. During winter, piles of snow can also make it easy to escape by jumping over the signal. Unfortunately, these systems are not portable and most people leave them when they move.
A more portable option is a wireless fence. PetSafe makes a few different models. These have a base station that must be plugged in which emits a circular radio frequency to contain your dog. They usually can only cover up to ¾ of an acre space. However, make sure that the circular radius does not extend into danger areas like a driveway or road. You can take wireless fences with you to a second home or when you move which many users find convenient. This type of fence is significantly cheaper than the buried wire versions, but customers do report the wireless fences to be less reliable than buried wire. Often, large structures like an out building or trees can interfere with the radio signal.
GPS Dog Fence
SpotOn Virtual Fence is a new type of containment system that uses GPS to contain your dog. It’s the only truly wireless containment system and does not require buried wires or base stations. You simply walk the perimeter of the containment area and set the dog fence on a collar your dog wears. The collar communicates with satellites and warns the dog with tones if they get too close to the boundary, giving an optional static correction if they try to cross.
The SpotOn Virtual Fence is also fully portable and allows you to create up to ten customized maps. That’s like having ten different fences for the price of one! Easily set up new maps in the time it takes you to walk the boundary of your desired containment area. This makes it easy to use at your second home, mom’s house, the park, the beach, or campground.
SpotOn also has a unique tracking feature that sends a notice to your smartphone if your dog breaches the containment area. You can track your dog on your smartphone to his location to pick him up. Location is refreshed every six seconds, so you always know where your best friend is at any time.
The SpotOn Virtual Fence is more than just a dog fence. It’s a GPS-based solution that offers tracking and containment all in one, keeping your dog safe.