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How to Make a Chain Link Fence Electrified

Regan Hennessy

Contrary to what many people think, making a chain link fence electrified does not involve directly electrifying the chain link itself, since it is not insulated. The correct way to electrify a chain link fence involves the addition of an off-set electric wire that gives an animal a slight “shock” when it touches it.


Make sure your fence charger is unplugged while you are installing your electric fence.

Ensure that your grounding rod is minimally 50 feet from underground water lines and utility wires to avoid stray voltage.

This type of supplementary fence provides pet owners, especially those with large dogs, a superior containment system for their pets.

  1. Determine the weaknesses of your chain link fence. If your pet digs, add a wire along the bottom of your chain link fence. If your pet climbs your fence to escape, add a wire along the top of your fence. Include both wires if your pet indulges in both types of escape behaviors.

  2. Purchase supplies. Use a tape measure to estimate the amount of wire you need to purchase. Typically, poly wire or poly tape works better for pet fencing than traditional electrical wire since it provides a more visible barrier for your pet to see. Obtain special insulators-- called chain link offset insulators--which hold the electrical fence several inches away from your chain link fence. Make sure your fence energizer has enough power for the length of fence that you will be using.

  3. Install the insulators. Attach your chain link offset insulators to your fence by clipping the ends around the opposing wires on a section of chain link. Locate the insulators at 8- to 10-foot intervals along the outside top edge of the chain link fence for the upper wire. Position the insulators at 8- to 10-foot intervals along the outside bottom edge of the chain link fence; make sure they are several inches from the ground to ensure that the wire doesn’t ground out from being too close to grass or other vegetation.

  4. String the wire or tape. Run the wire through the insulators and the entire circumference of the chain link enclosure. Tie the wire off to create a complete circle of wire. Repeat this process for the other wire. Cut a length of insulated cable that reaches between the two strands of wire. Peel a couple of inches of insulation off each end, and wrap each end around a different wire. This jumper wire now connects your two energized wires. Locate the insulated cable at the corner that is closest to your fence charger.

  5. Connect the wire to the energizer. Cut another section of insulated cable that extends between the fence charger and the jumper wire. Peel back a couple of inches of insulation on one end, and wrap the cable around the exposed end of jumper wire where it is attached to one of the energized wires. Repeat this process for the other end of insulated cable, attaching it instead to the positive fence terminal on the fence charger.

  6. Install your grounding system. Check your fence energizer instruction manual for specific grounding directions for your particular fencing unit. Connect insulated cable to the negative ground terminal on your fence charger. Insert a copper ground rod into the ground about 10 feet from the fencing energizer, leaving about 2 inches of rod sticking out of the ground. Attach the other end of the insulated cable to the copper ground rod using a ground clamp. Check the components of your electric fence system to make sure they are all installed correctly, then plug in your fencing unit.