Step One: Plan
Let’s start by figuring out where the boundary wire and controller box will be located. An hour or two of installation planning is a smart investment and will save multiple hours during the actual installation. We have learnt this the hard way! Despite having installed countless systems, we still take the time to sketch out every new installation. When you try and save time by skipping this step, it always ends up taking twice as long.
An important step when planning is to locate all your underground utility lines. Call 811, a free national service that alerts all the utility companies and gets them to come out and mark the location of your utility lines for you. You will need to do this about a week before you actually do the installation. (visit http://www.call811.com/) Although you will only be burying wire a couple of inches deep, and are unlikely to hit utility lines, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Sketch the Property
Draw a rough map of the property, including your house, any obstacles where you cannot bury wire (such as driveways) and the utility lines. Define which areas you want to keep off-limits for the dog, and mark these areas in red. Also work out the areas you want to give your dog access to and shade these areas in green.
Now let’s start by drawing the system main loop.
1. Main Loop
The main loop creates the boundary line for your dog. It needs to be a complete loop that starts and finishes at the same place. There are several different types of loops that you can create. We will cover the most common variations, including: the entire property, front yard only, back yard only and figure eight layouts.
Front and Back Yard
The most common layout is a single large loop around your entire property, both front and back yard. This allows your dog to play in both the front and back yard while moving between the two. This is also the easiest layout to create.
When deciding where to place the boundary wire, remember that the dog will not be able to come within six feet of the boundary wire. So leave plenty of space between the boundary wire and the sides of the house so that the dog can easily get between the front and back yard.
Back Yard Only or Front Yard Only
The second most common layout is to give the dog access to only the back yard or only the front yard. This creates an added challenge because we are trying to create a layout with three sides but still need to make a complete loop. There are a couple of tricks to help you do this. We’ll use the example of a back yard only layout, but the same principles apply to front yard only layouts.
The first option is to place a loop around the entire house while keeping the loop very close to the front and sides. This allows access to the back yard and within the house.
|Option One||Option Two|
The second option is to create a half loop that outlines your back yard, then double back on yourself. Remember, wires need to remain separated by about six feet. The disadvantage of this design is that it reduces the amount of safe zone space. At a minimum, this technique will contract the safe zone space by six feet around the border. However, this design alleviates the need to run wire around your home.
There are a couple of other options to create a half-loop, such as running boundary wire through the gutters or through a crawl space. These options are only available in some houses, but where they are available they can make installation a lot easier. We discuss these options more fully in our book.
The figure eight design gives your dog access to both the front and back yard, while restricting them from traveling freely between the two. This is useful because it lets you contain your dog in your back yard, but also gives you the option to have them stay with you in the front yard when you are outside.
The figure eight boundary wire does not actually need to touch the side of the house, but does need to come within a few feet of the side of the house (more if you plan to have a very wide field width setting).
Plan Base Station
Next we need to find a convenient location for the control box. The control box is connected to the main loop using twisted wire. This twisted wire is just two regular wires wrapped around each other. The twisting causes the signals from the two wires to cancel each other out and allow the dog to pass over them without getting a correction.
You will need to choose a spot for the control box that is sheltered from the elements and near a power source. Typical locations are a garage, a shed, or a closet inside your house.
You can also create secondary loops that to keep your dog out of areas within the main loop. For example, you may want to keep the dog out of a flower bed, children’s play area, or swimming pool. For more details see our book.
Now it is time to lay out your in-ground dog fence.
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|•||How to get across driveways and tunnel under footpaths|
|•||How to use a crawl space or guttering to help you do a back yard only installation|
|•||How to splice wire together properly so that the joint will stay together no matter how much pressure is applied|
|•||How to install a dog fence system without burying any wire!|
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