Design & Layout Planning


Pick the right electric dog fence for your dog

Start by deciding on the right dog fence for your dog . Read our electric dog fence reviews and pick the best system for your dog’s unique size, temperament, and personality.  Our expert electric dog fence technicians are available for free consultations.  Please call 800-396-5517 to speak with a technician. With over 20 years in the business we have the very best dog fences to choose from.  We have personally installed all of the available systems and can design a perfect layout for you and your dog.  We ship worldwide and can have your electric dog fence delivered to you quickly.  Choosing the correct fence can be difficult and we can help you pick the right system for your unique situation and place the order right over the phone for you. Consider buying a heavier duty invisible dog fence wire for maximum longevity.


Decide on a layout

 Which layout works best for your yard?  Please refer to our layout samples page.  There are generally two types of layouts you can choose from.   You can also use an avoidance layout to keep your dog out of certain areas.

1. Front & Backyard Layout

–This is the most common electric dog fence installation and is also the easiest to install.  With this design, you simply run a continuous loop around the perimeter of your property connecting both ends of the dog fence wire to the twisted wire.  .  Whole yard Layouts

2. Backyard Only Design

–This layout is for homeowners who do not want their dog in either the front or side yard. With all dog fence installations it is critical to keep in mind that the main loop around the property must make a complete loop back to the origination point. The challenge with a backyard only installation is you must complete your loop back to the origination point; which is your electric dog fence transmitter.  The main challenge in accomplishing this is your dog must be able to get into and out of the fence.   Backyard Layouts.

3. Avoidance Only

With this type of layout your main objective will be keeping your dog out of certain areas of your yard.  For example, a flowerbed or children’s play area. Miscellaneous Designs

Electric Dog Fence  Installation Principals

Once you have decided what type of layout you want, take a walk around your property and brainstorm some ideas of where you want your dog to go on your property and what you want to keep out of or away from.  Be sure to keep the layout types discussed previously in mind. As you are walking around the property sketch a simple design of your property using graph or regular paper.  Major permanent structures such as your house, outbuildings, driveway and sidewalk should be included. 

  • 1. Crossing Permanent Structures - You may have to cross permanent structures such as driveways, sidewalks, walls and in some cases trees and roots.  Crossing these structures is a little bit more time consuming but can be easily accomplished with our how to section. Crossing Driveways & Sidewalks.
  • 2. Distance Field  - Your dog will have to stay several feet back from where you are actually installing the dog fence wire.  A 2-6 ft signal field is generally set depending on the type of dog and the size of your property.
  • 3. Rounded Corners  - Property corners have to be rounded; you will want to avoid making sharp turns with the dog fence wire as you approach sharp corners on your property
  • Lake Loops  - in the industry we refer to auxiliary loops from the main dog fence loop as lake loops.  As your brainstorming your dog fence layout, decide whether there are certain avoidance areas on the property such as ponds, flower beds, outbuildings etc. You want your dog to avoid.
  • Utilities-  if you have had your utilities marked and are running parallel to cable, electric or phone, plan your layout and dog fence wire configuration to stay 2-4 feet away from these utilities. In some rare instances, interference can cause your dog fence collar not to activate along these lines.  We suggest you contact 811 and have your underground utilities marked. This is a free service.   The 811 locaters will mark public utilities only.  They will not mark sprinkler systems or low voltage landscape lighting wire.

Seem a bit confusing?  Some properties are ideal for a wireless electric dog fence. They are much easier to set up, but wireless systems are not as functional as wired dog fences.

Tip from the Pro’s

The main dog fence wire will emit a signal field from wherever it is laid or installed to the distance from the wire that you set it. For example, if your dog is small and timid such as a toy poodle, you may want to set up a 2 foot signal field.  This means that the dog fence collar will go off 2 feet away from the actual buried dog fence wire.  On the other hand, if you have a very large Rottweiler and a 10 acre property, you might want to set your range so the dog has to stay 10 feet back from the buried wire.  In this example, the Rottweiler would have a 10-20 foot signal field which he may or may not need for safe containment.

Signal field is an important factor to take into account when designing your electric dog fence.  Without this information, you may install dog fence wire in areas that you want or don’t want the dog to access.  For example, if you want your dog to stay 4 feet away from a sidewalk and you designed a two foot system right on the edge of your sidewalk, your dog would only have to stay 2 feet back.   As you are planning your dog fence, keep this principal in mind.

Whole Yard Sample layouts

  • Front and Back Yard layout

    Electric dog fenceElectric dog fence

    This is the most common installation for all dog fences. This layout allows your dog free access to the back and front yard. With this layout, you would run a neutral or twisted wire to the perimeter of your property and a main loop around your property line.   




    Hourglass Method

    Invisible FenceElectric dog fence

  • The hourglass method is a great way to control your dog’s access to the front yard and backyard. The main disadvantage of this layout is your dog will not be able to freely cross from the front yard to the backyard.   This design is the same as the front and backyard layout except you are pinching the wire to the side of your house and using the house as a barrier to keep your dog from entering the opposite respective zones.




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Back Yard only Sample Layouts


  • Pinch Method

    Invisible FenceInvisible Fence  This is the easiest back yard only installation method. Run your main loop around the back of your yard and run a second connecting loop hugging the sides of the house and across the front of your house. When connecting your front loop hug the sides of the house close enough that your dog will not be able to sneak through the sides of your yard into the front of your yard.  Remember to stay far enough from your house so as to not send signal field inside your home.  The wire signal field will go through walls of any type.




  • Double Loop Method

    Dog FenceInvisible Fence   This layout is for homeowners who do not want their dog in either the front or backyard and the property is such that none of the other layout designs are appropriate. One example would be a shared driveway in the front yard. In this case there would be no means of crossing the shared walkways or driveways.    




    • Hourglass Method for Backyard Only

      Dog FenceDog Fence

       This is the very best way to install your electric dog fence and contain the dog to the backyard only.  With this installation method you accomplish your main goal, which is to contain your dog to the backyard only without having to do a secondary loop.  Your dog cannot pass from the backyard to the front yard. We like this installation method because it is relatively simple to design and install.

      An additional benefit of this installation method is there is not a penetration point on your property for your dog to escape.  If your dog gets out through the garage or front door he is contained to the front yard.  The separate zones give you the ability to control where your dog is on your property.

      For example, if you are having a BBQ in your backyard and would prefer your dog not to be a part of the party, you can place him in the front yard and be assured your dog is safely contained.  The greatest part about this installation is that it takes around the same amount of time to install as the other backyard only solutions and you get a lot more value for your dollar




    • Over the House Method

      Pet FenceYou can install your dog fence using this method but we seriously advise against it.   The dog fence wire is copper and leads back into your house and if struck by lightning could potentially lead to a fire. Another problem with this installation method is the signal travels through walls and can send signal through your home into the dog’s safe area. With this installation method a homeowner runs the backyard and completes the main loop by running the dog fence wire up the side of the house, over the roof or downspouts, and down the other side to complete the loop. 
    • Three Sided Fence

      In ground dog fence In ground dog fence This method is generally used by the pros but can be accomplished by the homeowner with our guidance. Only certain types of terrain will work using this method Three Sided fence System 
    • This system is the only electric dog fence system that has enough power to completing your dog fence that we recommend for this installation method.  This installation method also should only be attempted where water tables are relatively low, areas that are close to water are generally ideal for this type of installation. To install this type of layout you will run your wire around the perimeter of the back yard. Drive a ground rod 8-10 feet below the surface of each back corner of the house and connect your loop wire to each ground rod using ground rod clamps.  


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    • Miscellaneous Designs

         In rare instances the above layouts are not appropriate because a particular property design or if the dog fence is being used for avoidance as opposed to actual containment.  
      • Physical Fence Installation

        Dog Fence -
      • This installation method is designed for the clever dog who has figured a way to dig under an actual physical fence and escape the confines of your property.  This method will also prevent dogs from escaping through left open gates.  To install this type of dog fence you would actually double loop the back yard attaching the wire to the bottom of the fence on the first run and making your way back around the back yard separating the wires by several feet on your return trip. For Chain link fences you can actually weave the wire in and out. When you cross gates or opening you will have to bury the wire several feet apart.  Remember not to weave the wire or attach the wire to the gate openings or you will not be able to open the gate.  



        One Side Only

        Radio fence  You can do only one side of your property. With this type of installation you would run a neutral or twisted wire from your dog fence transmitter to the starting point for your fence. You would run a section of wire continuing the circuit from one end of your twisted wire back to the other side of your twisted wire making in essence creating a double loop around the areas your are fencing off.  We recommend separating the dog fence wire approximately 5-8 foot to eliminating the possibility of cancellation. If the wire is too close together it will work like a twisted pair and cancel out the signal. 


        Water Installation

        A water installation can be accomplished in the same manner as any dog fence installation except you will have to get wet.  If you want your dog to be able to access the water or walk down to the edge of a pond than this is the installation for you.  With this installation method as you approach the area that runs through water you would run your dog fence wire as far into the water as you want your dog to go out. Bricks or fishing sinkers are an excellent means of securing the wire to the bottom of the water body.  If you don’t want your dog to have any stopping point you would simply take the wire out to a far enough depth where the signal field couldn’t reach the water’s surface. 4- 6 feet should suffice in most cases.
      • Electric dog fence Pet Fence Radio fence




      Avoidance Areas

         In some cases, the electric dog fence is a more a solution to keep your dog from digging up flower beds or restricting your dogs access to areas like ponds or lakes.  In these cases you would run twisted wire from your transmitter to the area you want keep your dog away from or out of and run a loop around area.

      Electric dog fenceElectric dog fenceElectric dog fence



      Gate Installation

    •  This is a common installation type for people wanting to keep their dog from running out an open gate.  To install this system you will need to run twisted dog fence wire from your dog fence control box to the gate or areas in question.  You will than make two cuts (see driveway sidewalk cuts separated by a minimum of 4 foot apart in the driveway. You can also use existing expansion seems. You will then run regular dog fence wire through the seams creating a boundary at the gate.

    Electric dog fence Electric dog fence Electric dog fence


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    Alternatives to wiring

    Wireless avoidance units Electric dog fence

    Don't want to wire your flower beds, wireless avoidance systems are an excellent alternative in some scenarios. Wireless avoidance systems create an invisible field in a 1-10 diameter around areas you want to keep your pet away from. Depending on how many areas you are trying to keep your pet away from you might want to consider a wireless out door avoidance systems.

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Wireless Containment Systems

  • While wired dog fences are in most cases superior to their wireless dog fence counterparts, on certain occasions and certain layouts a wired dog fence is not a practical solution. In these scenarios, we may recommend a wireless dog fence system.

    Wireless electric dog fence systems emit a signal field of up to 90 feet in every direction from the main transmitter unit. The signal field emitted from the main transmitter unit is spherical or circular. The main unit must be placed indoors. Some advantages of a wireless containment system are portability and ease of installation. While wireless containment systems work great on flat open lots, they are not practical for custom cornered lots where space is an issue. The collars for wireless containment systems are in most cases 30% larger than wired system containment collars.

  • Electric dog fenceElectric dog fence


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      Tool list for installing a dog fence

      Print out and gather your tools

      While you are waiting for your dog fence kit to arrive make sure you have all the tools necessary to install it.

      • 1. Shovel – for hand digging
      • 2. Dog Fence  Trenching machine or any of the alternative methods
      • 3. Electric or gas power saw with a masonry blade.  You can use a regular table saw with a masonry blade.
      • 4. Wire strippers
      • 5. Drill with bits
        •    A. 1/8 inch masonry drill bit- for  wall anchors
        •    B. ¼  ito 3/8 12 inch long  masonry drill bit- to drill through your wall if you don’t already have a hole.
      • 6. Wire Strippers- for cutting, stripping and splicing your dog fence wire
      • 7. Weeder (optional but makes pushing the wire in the ground much easier)
      • 8.  Stapler- for securing the dog fence wire going from  the transmitter to the outside.