How Does a Wireless Dog Fence Work? Keeping Your Dogs Safe Without Chaining Them Up


If you have a dog that loves hanging out in the yard but loves hanging out in your neighbor’s yard more, you might have looked into an invisible dog fence. Some dogs are just fence jumpers⁠—born to be wild and free and not about staying in their yard. 

However, as their owner, you’ve got to keep your pups safe and contain them in your backyard. Whether you have an adventurous dog or haven’t installed a fence, an invisible dog fence might help you out⁠—but how does a wireless dog fence work? 

What Is an Invisible Fence?

Wireless dog fences, also known as invisible or electric fences, work using GPS and electronic signals. There are several wireless fences, but the most common is GPS enabled and gives you a specific boundary for your dog. So how do invisible dog fences work?

How Does a Wireless Dog Fence Work? 

Wondering, “how do wireless dog fences work?” The wireless fence works by sensing the dog’s collar. When the collar (which should be on the pup) gets close to the edge of the allowed area, it will buzz or beep. 

Each brand of wireless fence works slightly differently. However, they all have the same technology: a transmitter in the house or at the yard’s edge and a receiver in the dog’s collar. A well-trained dog will know that this is as far as it can go and retreat to safer grounds. 

Do Wireless Dog Fences Work?

Some wireless fence collars provide small shocks which don’t hurt the dog but will startle them into obedience. More stubborn dogs might need a louder sound or harder shock, but no collar is built to hurt a dog of the correct size. Almost all collars have adjustable settings. 

Wireless dog fences are upgrades from classic invisible fences. For many years, invisible fences were sets of wires buried in the ground. The dog’s collar would activate when it came near the buried wires. However, wireless fences are portable and don’t require digging trenches near the edge of your yard. 

Why Buy a Wireless Dog Fence? 

Many people choose a wireless dog fence if they rent or can’t put up a fence. It’s a simple solution that requires minimal setup and a few steps of extra training. Unless the fence itself is faulty, a wireless fence will keep a well-trained dog safe and sound inside the yard. 

Another reason to buy a wireless fence is a jumping dog. If you live in a place with a shorter fence and your dog wants to be free, an electric collar and wireless fence might be the best way to train them to stay in the yard. 

Pros and Cons of Wireless Dog Fences

Of course, there are positives and negatives to every kind of fence, and this one is no exception. One common thing people wonder is: do electric dog fences work for all dogs? They don’t work for every dog, but they work for many

Here are some of the pros and cons of owning a wireless fence. 


  • Wireless fences work for dogs of all sizes
  • Wireless fences don’t require installation
  • Wireless fences are invisible and moveable 
  • Wireless fences are generally pretty inexpensive


  • Extra training is required
  • Invisibility means that passersby might not realize there’s a fence
  • It doesn’t work on all dogs (some dogs are extremely stubborn)
  • GPS and wireless can shift and be inconsistent

Invisible Fence, How Does It Work?

An invisible fence works wonders for some people but doesn’t work for others. It’s not necessarily a matter of the technology but your specific dog and life situation. If your dog doesn’t train well or is resistant to sound or shock, it won’t work for you and your dog. 

How to Install a Wireless Fence

To install a wireless fence, you just have to follow the instructions given to you by your particular brand. Most brands of wireless invisible fences include detailed instructions. 

Many fences involve a transmitter module, which will sit inside the house and provide a radius for the dog. You’ll need to ensure that you have the proper wifi and wireless settings to set this up. Check the boundaries you need and make sure that the radius is specific to your yard size. 

The more traditional invisible fence installation process involves digging a shallow trench around your whole yard. A wire is buried in the trench, and your transmitter is connected. The transmitter needs to be somewhere central so that the entire fence can alert it, which will send a signal to the collar. 

How Does an Invisible Fence Work After Installed?

To get the invisible fence working, both types of installation involve setting up a transmitter in a central location. If you have a shared property or are renting, ensure it is allowed before setting it up. However, many people choose to keep their wireless transmitters in closets within their homes. 

How to Train a Dog With a Wireless Fence

How does an invisible dog fence work for a dog that’s never used one? A wireless fence won’t work if you don’t train your dog properly first. They have to associate their collar’s sound with the negative behavior and automatically move away when they hear it. This takes time but can be done with any size or age of the dog. 

You should look up a complete guide on training a dog and use similar steps for the fence. However, here are some steps on how electric fences work for dogs.

  1. Let your dog get used to the new collar 
  2. Set your hidden fence controller to signal only
  3. Walk your dog in the yard with a leash. Once you get near the fence and the signal goes off, move your dog away from the fence and treat them. 
  4. Repeat this practice, reinforcing the action of moving away from the fence with a treat. 
  5. Add the lowest correction level, so your dog learns that ignoring the sound will result in a mild shock. This will surprise them more than hurt them. 
  6. Gradually increase the distance between you and your dog, eventually taking them off-leash. 
  7. Provide distractions on the other side of the fence, but don’t allow your dog to go to them. 
  8. Consistently treat your dog for coming away from the fence until they’ve learned. 

With these steps and several sessions a day of practice, your dog will automatically move away from the fence, and it will become part of their routine. 

Final Thoughts

Whether you have a jumping dog or a short fence, you might benefit from an invisible, wireless fence. Now that you know how invisible fences work, keep your dogs safe in your yard and your neighbors happy with a wireless fence for your pups!

Recommended Gear