An electric dog fence is a device that keeps your dog or puppy from wandering outside the yard, or from a set perimeter within the yard. The dog wears a radial collar with a battery. When the dog wanders too close to the boundary an alarm will sound. If the dog then crosses the boundary, the collar will administer a harmless, corrective static shock. Eventually the dog associates the alarm with the coming shock and learns to stay within the boundary set by the owner.

There are two kinds of electric dog fences: in-ground and wireless. With in-ground fences, the owner must set an underground perimeter wire. These systems are good because they can be customized to the exact, or irregular shape of your yard. They are also plugged directly into a power outlet and don't have to rely on batteries. A wireless dog fence has a battery-powered base transmitter, which broadcasts a large circular boundary of chosen diameter regardless of obstructions. A wireless system administers the alarm and shock when the dog starts to move outside the perimeter. The main advantage to this solution is that it is portable.

Electric dog fences are ideal for owners who wish to ensure the safety of their dogs. If your dog or puppy is prone to wandering, or you live near a road or highway, an electric dog fence is the most effective way to keep your dog on your property. However, we recommend you consult your veterinarian before purchase, as they are not appropriate for all dogs. Guard dogs, overly aggressive dogs, and dogs with health problems are not ideal candidates for an electric fence system.

What type of fence is right for you depends mainly on the size and shape of the area in which you propose to contain the dog. Smaller, unobstructed yards do well with wireless dog fences. They are usually the cheaper option. If you have a larger yard, or especially if you want to customize he boundary, the in-ground option is probably for you.

Top 10 Companies

Our Partner
8.4 / 10

DogTek Electronic Dog Fence System - EF4000

  • In-Ground Fence
  • From $149.95
  • Covers up to 5 acres with additional wire
  • Unlimited number of pets with purchase of additional collars
  • 8 levels of correction
Our Partner
8.4 / 10

PetSafe Basic In-ground Fence (PIG00-14582)

  • In-ground Fence
  • $154.99
  • Covers 1/3 acres expandable to 5 acres with additional wire
  • Unlimited number of pets with purchase of additional collars


8.0 / 10

Perimeter Comfort Contact Fencing

  • In-ground fence
  • $199.95
  • Up to 5 acres cover with additional wire
  • Unlimited number of pets with purchase of additional collars
  • Dual frequency
7.9 / 10

Innotek Rechargeable In-ground Pet Fencing SD 2100

  • In-ground Fence
  • $209.95
  • Cover up to 25 acres
  • Rechargeable battery
7.6 / 10

YardMax Rechargeable In-ground Fence PIGOO 11115

  • In-ground fence
  • $299.95
  • Up to 10 acres with additional wire
  • Unlimited number of pets with purchase of additional collars
  • Compatible with indoor systems
6.9 / 10

Sportdog Brand In-ground Fence

  • In-ground Fence
  • $244.95
  • 100 acre cover
  • Unlimited number of pets with purchase of additional collars
  • Rugged and reliable
Our Partner
6.0 / 10

PetSafe Stubborn Dog In-ground Fence PIG00-10777

  • In-ground Fence
  • $224.95
  • Cover 1/3 acre expandable to 10 acres with additional wire
  • Unlimited number of pets with purchase of additional collars
  • 4 Higher Intensity Settings
5.4 / 10

Havahart Radial Shape Wireless Dog Fence

  • Wireless fence
  • $299
  • Circular wireless boundary from 40-400 ft in any direction
  • 2 dogs maximum
  • Rechargeable collar
  • Up to 11 acres cover
Our Partner
5.3 / 10

PetSafe Stay+Play Wireless Fence PIFOO 12917

  • Wireless fence
  • $349.99
  • Covers 3/4 acre circular area
  • Unlimited number of pets with purchase of additional collars
Our Partner
4.8 / 10

PetSafe Wireless Mapping Fence PIFOO-13651

  • Wireless fence
  • $599.99
  • 1/2 acre cover
  • Unlimited Number of pets 
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How We Compare Electric Dog Fences



Here we look at the cost of a given electric dog fence system. For in-ground systems, the equipment could range anywhere from $100 to $400. This typically includes the collar, wiring, charger and voltage meter. Batteries must be replaced every 3 to 4 months, averaging about $50-$90 a year. Installation of these systems is quite labor intensive, especially if you have a large property. It involves digging a ditch around the full perimeter and burying the wire. If you opt for professional installation, the labor cost could run anywhere from $900 - $1,300 - no small amount. 

A wireless system usually runs cheaper, $100 - $450, and there is no installation. You basically just turn it on. However, there are 3 main drawbacks to wireless systems that could affect your decision if they apply to your situation. A wireless system can only project a circular boundary, it cannot customize itself to the particular shape of your yard. Also, wireless dog fences suffer from something called "boundary blur." This means because of the transmission, the edge of the boundary through which the dog must pass in order to receive the static shock is ill defined. It can shift anywhere from 1 to 20 feet at any given time. Finally, for wireless fences to work properly they must be largely unobstructed. Trees, large shrubs, and especially cars or sheds can block the signal in certain areas.

For both versions, you should be looking to spend an average of $250 for a decent system. However, the price of installation of an in-ground fence depends entirely on the size of your yard and whatever the contractor wants to charge. We recommend you install yourself if you are able. It's an easy weekend DIY project.

Pet Features


The next factor in our criteria deals with how these electronic systems affect our pets. This includes the type of correction that is administered and the adjustability. Is it a static shock? Can it be set to vibrate? What type of alarm is sounded? Does the collar allow for progressive correction as the dog strays farther? It also gives a score according to how the collar is built, comfort and functioning.

It is important to remember here that the shock administered by the collar is not intended as punishment. It is to train the dog to associate the unwanted behavior with the discomfort of the shock. Make sure your shock collar is approved so the voltage will not harm the dog. Also, collars that have several levels of correction may be more expensive, but are recommended because you are going to want the flexibility of adjusting the shock depending on the size/temperament of the dog to get full effectiveness. 



Here we judge the wide range of equipment options and quality offered by electric dog fences. This includes battery life, training equipment, wireless base units, and ease of installation. 

Battery – we recommend electronic fences that use rechargeable batteries. This is ideal for especially for long-term use since constantly buying battery replacements could be expensive and cumbersome.

Training equipment – training flags are provided to help our pets visualize the location of boundaries. This is a clear signal that our pets are near a boundary and helps during training. Aside from providing training flags, companies also include a training manual.

Ease of installation – this is definitely where wireless systems out perform in-ground systems. Wireless dog fences do not require burying wires and all you need is to configure the base unit and collars. However, most electric fencing systems both come with manuals making it easy to install even without professional installation services.

For in-ground fences, make sure your unit has a battery backup in case of power outages. Packages that come with training equipment are also preferable. If you travel a lot with your dog, or obviously if you live in an RV, the wireless solution is clearly the better bet.

Effective Range


Here we look at how large an area a electric pet fence covers. For in-ground fences, this is only limited to the length of wire you purchase. Wireless ranges vary widely according to the level of base unit you buy. Wireless ranges are also adjustable, and the units themselves are portable, so if you are taking the dog away from the house you can take the dog fence with you. 

Most pet owners only require cover for small lawns. Prices of pet fencing systems usually depend on how much cover is required, so it is essential that you know this. We also take into consideration the flexibility of the system and if it could be used both indoors and outdoors.

For in ground fences you are clearly going to want to go with a package with significant wire to cover your entire property, thus giving the dog the largest area possible to roam. Wireless fences deserve special consideration here, especially if you live close to a street or other danger. Because of the blurred boundary, it's not good to set the range limit too close or exactly at the yard's boundary. You should be looking for an adjustable range, one sufficient enough to cover your entire yard, but also that can be brought back so the boundary does not become ill defined near a dangerous area.

What's important to know about Electric Dog Fences?

What is an electric dog fence?

An electric dog fence is an electronic system designed to keep your pet within a set boundary. The system comes with a wire that is typically buried or otherwise secured around the perimeter you designate as your pet’s boundary. A collar that is worn by your pet contains a sensor, which will first beep to warn your pet to move away from the boundary. If your pet ignores the signal and continues to get closer, he or she will receive a mild electric shock to deter them from crossing the fence perimeter.

Is an electric fence right for my dog?

An electric dog fence can be a great tool for pet parents who are concerned about their pet running away, chasing people, animals or cars, or wandering off and getting lost. For most pet parents, the idea of losing a pet is like losing a family member, and electric dog fences can help prevent that fear from becoming a reality.

Despite how helpful an electric fence can be, the truth is that an electric dog fence is not right for every dog, or for every pet parent.

An electric fence is easy to set up; however, in order for the system to be effective you will likely need to spend time training your pet. If you don’t it could cause a lot of confusion for your pet, or worse, create anxiety or fear. Remember, your pet won’t know what is happening, so it’s best to spend time up front to show them how it works before letting them loose.

If your pet is under 8 weeks, chances are they won’t be able to understand the training you are providing. No matter how hard you may try to train a 6 month old how to use the potty, chances are they just don’t have the capacity to comprehend the directions, control their impulses, and react accordingly. The same is true for animals.

Then there are the pets that will blow right through the electric pet fence all together. Whether they get caught up in the moment, just don’t care about the fence, don’t remember it’s there, or whatever the reason, some pets just need that physical boundary.

However, many pet parents have found electric dog fences exactly what they need to protect their pets and keep them safely at home.

Does the shock from the electric dog fence hurt my dog?

The shock that is delivered from the sensor collar is mild, and the voltage can typically be adjusted within a safe range.

However, there is a risk for injury if the voltage is too high, so we suggest following the directions on whatever system you choose to make sure your pet is not injured. We do not condone using an electric fence to hurt or cause pain to your pet. The purpose of an electric fence is to get the attention of your pet and deter them from crossing the boundaries, which is why many pet parents will test the system on themselves before putting the collar on their pet.

It’s never a bad idea to speak to your veterinarian if your pet has health problems or you have concerns about using an electric dog fence for your pet.