Determine how much area you'll want to cover before you purchase a system. Most basic systems include a transmitter with the potential to enclose an area of about 25 acres. Higher-powered transmitters are also available to enclose even larger areas. Additional wire is necessary for such big jobs. A system will typically come with 500 feet of wire, enough to enclose roughly 1/3 of an acre.
Using graph paper, plot your yard and draw in the area you want to cover. In most cases, corners must be rounded because right angles confuse the transmitter. The wire forming the fence boundary must make a continuous loop back to the transmitter.
Your transmitter must be located indoors in a dry, protected area. A garage is a good choice. Make sure the transmitter isn't located near a breaker box, and avoid potential interference problems by installing the transformer away from appliances, such as water heaters or air-conditioning units.
Most systems recommend that you bury the wires 1 inch to 3 inches underground. The wires don't have to be underground to work, but if they're aboveground, it's easy to trip over them or to cut them with a lawnmower or trimmer.
TIP: Test your wires aboveground before burying them.
You'll need to determine how close you want your dog to be able to get to the boundary without receiving a warning. The distance you determine can be adjusted on the indoor transmitter. Some systems will work up to 30 feet from the boundary and as close as a foot. Just make sure that your dog has room to roam and play without feeling discomfort.
Other basics to keep in mind:
- Don't run wire along with electrical wires, telephone wires, television cables, antenna wires or near satellite dishes. Avoid crossing power lines.
- If you don't know the location of your cable or power lines, check with your local utilities before installation.
- Don't put your transmitter in a barn or shed. A risk of electric shock or fire could result if the transmitter is exposed to water or damage due to weather.
- If you need to cross brick, asphalt or concrete surfaces, you'll need a circular saw fitted with a masonry blade and patching compound suitable for the surface you'll be crossing. If you're crossing a gravel or dirt drive, protect your wire by running it through polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe.