How to Block Invisible Fence Signals
Blocking the signals from an invisible fence allows you to customize more precisely your dog's roaming areas.
Invisible fences give dogs free rein to roam and explore your yard, while still protecting them from the dangers that lie beyond your property. For even greater flexibility, you can block the fence's signals along specific stretches of your property lines.
Things You Will Need
- Tape measure
- Spade or shovel
- Boundary wire
- Weatherproof gel wire nuts
- Wire stripping pliers
- Silicone caulk
- Electrical or insulating tape
- Safety goggles or glasses
- Work gloves
Also known as buried or in-ground fences, invisible fences rely on three major pieces of hardware. First, the property owner installs a system of wires under the ground along the boundaries of the property to be fenced off. Then, a transmitter is paired with a receiver that’s attached to the dog’s collar.
When the dog wearing the collar gets too close to the buried boundary wires, the collar first gives an audible warning beep to alert the dog. If the dog proceeds closer to the boundary line, the collar will emit a mild, harmless corrective shock. It causes no injury to the dog but reinforces the idea in the dog's mind to avoid that area of the yard.
These types of fences are increasingly popular with dog owners. They allow dogs to have freedom of movement. At the same time, invisible fences restrict the dog’s movements to the owner’s property, avoiding the risk of physical injury to the dog as well as possible conflicts with neighbors. Invisible fences allow owners greater flexibility in enjoying scenic property boundaries free of the obstructed views created by high physical fences. Moreover, these fences are effective at “corralling” free-roaming dogs the majority of the time. This solution is relatively cost-effective since invisible fences cost much less than most physical fences.
However, invisible fences are not perfect solutions. They are perceived to be a bit inflexible – either you “fence in” the entire property along the parcel’s boundary lines or you must reconfigure the wire in some way. Owners often feel they have to enclose the entire piece of property. But property owners can block the invisible electrical signal in specific locations with relatively little effort or cost.
You can create gaps or spaces along the property’s boundaries that allow your dog to walk freely across specific spaces with a simple cut-and-replace switch. This approach replaces the existing boundary wire you’ve already installed underground with new, caulked wire that blocks the signal solely for that stretch of your property border.
When working with electrical signals, it's very important to use proper safety gear and take all necessary precautions. Wear safety goggles when digging or when cutting wire.
Before you begin to dig up the buried wires, it's crucial to make sure you're digging in the right spot. If you didn't mark exactly where the buried wires are located, call your local utility company before digging to make sure you're not in danger of damaging buried utility lines, wires or cables.
Expose the existing wire that's been previously buried along the length of the boundary where you want to create the gap. Dig carefully using a spade or shovel and expose the wire along that entire length.
Carefully measure and cut the boundary wire to remove the intended section of the gap you're creating. For instance, if you want to create a 5-foot gap, measure 5 feet of the exposed wire, then cut that section carefully at either end.
Carefully measure and cut two pieces of boundary wire 2-feet longer than the opening. If you're covering a 5-foot gap, you'll want to cut 7-foot pieces in this step. You'll need the additional wire to accommodate the twisting you will do in the next step.
Hold the two wires together at one end, while your assistant twists the two wires together. Aim for about eight-to-10 twists per foot.
Lay the wire where you cut out the section of boundary wire. If the wire is too long, use the wire cutter to trim the ends of the wire down to size. Ensure that the existing boundary wire and the twisted wires can be easily connected together.
Strip approximately 1/2-inch of insulation off each of the wires on the twisted wire as well as the two ends of the boundary wire with your wire-stripping pliers. Insert the twisted wire and boundary wires into the wire nut. Twist the wire nut. Repeat this step on the other end of the stretch of wire.
Place a coating of silicone caulk on the wire nut to cover the wires and nut so that moisture can't get into the nut.
Test the twisted wire with the dog collar. Note that you don't have to use the dog for this step. Instead, keep the dog inside, and manually move the collar closer to the wire. The collar should not beep or send a shock when crossing the gap if you have the wires connected correctly. Once you have confirmed the system works as it should and doesn't work in the newly created gap, cover the wire section with dirt and tamp it down with the flat side of your shovel.
Depending on the size and number of gaps you would like to create in your existing fencing system, this process should take no more than an afternoon. If you run into any trouble, try calling your local pet supply or home improvement store. Most stores that sell invisible fencing systems will be able to recommend professionals who can come to your home and assist you.
Dig Up Your Existing Wire
Soften the ground where you'll be digging with a generous amount of water an hour or two before you begin. This will make the area easier to dig.
Cut the Existing Wire
Cut Two Lengths of the New Wire
Twist Ends of Wire Together
Check Wire Length and Trim if Necessary
Strip Insulation and Twist to Connect
If you don’t have silicone caulk, wrap the wire nut with electrical tape thoroughly to prevent moisture from getting into the nut.
Test and Bury the New Wire
Before cleaning up, take a moment to draw a quick diagram with measurements to show where the splice is for future reference. This will be helpful if the system stops working for any reason, for example, if the wire becomes corroded or disconnected in some way.
Annie Sisk is a freelance writer who lives in upstate New York. She has written extensively for publications and websites in the home repair and decor fields, among other topics. A homebody by nature, Annie particularly enjoys Scandinavian and French Country design, and learning how complicated things are put together.