Get an Idea of How to Train Your Dog to Use an Invisible Dog Fence & How to Find and Repair Breaks

Electric fences are a contemporary solution to keeping your furry friends safe and contained in your yard. Basically, you put a collar on your dog that emits warning beep sounds and shock corrections so that they can learn the boundaries. However, you can’t just install an electric dog fence and expect your dog to magically know and understand how it works and what its purpose is. Just like with most other things, you’ll have to train your dog to resist the temptations outside of the fence, so that you can leave him in the yard unsupervised. With enough patience and plenty of treats, every dog can learn how to use an electric, invisible dog fence.

So, how to train dog on invisible fence? Well, first and foremost, you need to read the instruction manual of the electric fence and collar. Different invisible dog fence types can use different methods. Regardless, always follow the directions to avoid unnecessary shocks as much as possible. If you have any questions about the training system, try contacting the customer service of the company you bought the fence from, or contact the manufacturer directly.

invisible dog fence

Start off by placing the training flags within the boundary at the right distance. Most electric fence kits come with training flags that help you teach your dog where it needs to stop. The instruction manual will specify how far you need to place the flags from the fence. The training flags indicate where the warning signal triggers and they are usually placed 3 metres apart from one another, but again, that can differ between systems.

Next, place a non-metallic collar on your pup whenever you use a leash. If you attach a leash straight to the electric collar, you might risk hurting your pet, as the prongs will put too much pressure on its neck. Make sure the collar you get for your dog isn’t too loose or too tight. It should fit snugly, and you can ensure that by fitting a few fingers between the collar and the pup. The reason why I said the collar needs to be non-metallic is that metallic collars can interfere with the signals from the fence.

Now that you have everything you need, it’s time to start the training process. First and foremost, make sure that you train your dog in short, frequent training sessions. This means that the sessions will be short and sweet, where you’ll be throwing in plenty of treats and praise. You want to have 2-3 training sessions a day for as long as it takes your dog to grasp the concept of an electric fence. The necessary training time varies from dog to dog, and it will also depend on how effective the training sessions are. You can expect the training to take up to 3-4 months.


The most important part of the training process is walking your dog to the flags so that he learns all about the warning signal. Walk your dog with a leash close to the training flags and wait for the signal. You should hear the signal as soon as you reach the flags, but if you don’t, it means that you have to rearrange the flags. As soon as you hear the signal, turn around and walk away to the centre of your yard. Give your dog some treats, praise and affection in order to reinforce the idea that stopping and turning at the signal is the right thing to do.

And now comes the difficult part – repeating this process over and over and over again, until your dog turns around on his own when he hears the signal. Choose a few different spots around the yard that have training flags. Walk your dog to them, listen for the beep, then turn away. Do this until your dog starts turning around on his own and walking back to the yard as soon as he hears the beeping sounds. Remember, use praise and affection throughout the entire process to reassure your dog that he is doing the right thing.

Keep in mind that the electric dog fence is prone to breaks. What this means is that at a certain point, the fence may not work properly and may not provide the warning signal and bypassing shock to your dog’s collar. Generally, the electric fence transmitter will start beeping when there’s a break. But how to find a break in an invisible dog fence? The first thing you need to do is confirm that the beeping is indeed a break. There are a few different ways to do this.

dog with invisible fence

My unit features two wires that run from the transmitter to the fence. Disconnecting these wires and putting the ends on a small piece of wire or paper clip into the jacks where the wires had been connected confirms that the transmitter is working properly and that there is indeed a break. Another way to confirm that there’s a break is to use an ohmmeter and check out the resistance on the wires. If there’s no resistance, that means the wires are continuous and there isn’t a break, which means there is an issue with the transmitter.

If you’ve confirmed there’s a break, you’ll need an RF choke and a handheld AM radio. Connect the two wires you disconnected from the transmitter to the RF choke, then place the leads of the choke into the jacks on the transmitter where the wires were connected. This should allow the transmitter to keep on sending signals to the fence even though it’s broken. The fence will emit a radio signal that’s picked up by the receiver on your dog’s collar when it gets close. You can detect this signal in the lower AM range. The signal of my electric fence was at about 600 kHz. Tune in to the right frequency, and you’ll hear the signal as you pass the handheld radio over the ground. You might have to turn up the intensity of the signal at the transmitter.

Keep walking around the perimeter while pressing the radio antenna over the ground where the wires are supposed to be. You’ll be picking up a clear and definite signal. If tuned in perfectly, the signals will sound like rapid beeping/tapping, whereas when tuned close but not right, the signal will cause the static to get louder as the radio passes over the wire. When you find an area where the signal drops out for a few metres, you’ve found your break. You’ll then need to expose the wire with the help of a pickaxe or a 3-pronged hand tiller. Whatever you use, be careful not to cut or kick the wire.

dog wireless receiver collar
Once you’ve found the break, use the handheld radio to see whether you have a strong signal on both lines. I found two breaks, yet I didn’t know it until I located the first break and realised that one of the ends doesn’t have a signal, so I had to continue digging until I found the second break just a few metres away. If you have strong signals on both ends, however, connect them with a piece of wire, disconnect the RF choke and reconnect the wires into the transmitter. If the alarm goes off, it means you’ve found your break.

The last thing you need to do is connect the broken ends in a secure and weatherproof way. Since I bought the connectors from a local hardware store, time will tell whether they’re good or not, but you want something that’s weatherproof and suitable for the temperature range in your climate. The connectors I have are filled with silicone to seal the wires. Once you’re certain the fence is working properly, bury the wires back into the ground.

And last but not least, you might have been wondering what is the best invisible fence for dogs? I personally use a Dogtra E-Fence unit, but I’ve read that Extreme Dog Fence and many of the PetSafe units are also pretty great. Your best bet is going online and reading user reviews and feedback on relevant forums and see which one you think will work best for you.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.