BEST NO-DIG FENCES FOR DOGS

Is a no-dig fence humane?

One of the biggest concerns for responsible pet owners is containment. Freely roaming dogs and cats can get lost or injured. They can also cause property damage and annoy neighbors. Traditionally, pet owners have solved these problems by installing physical barriers or keeping their dogs and cats inside. But what if there were another option?

Enter the no-dig fence.

What is a no-dig fence?

A no-dig fence is an invisible electric fence designed to deliver a small static correction when your dog crosses a pre-determined boundary. No-dig fences are sometimes called virtual fence systems.

How does a no-dig fence work?

A no-dig fence works much like a GPS. You place a transmitter in a fixed location, such as your home, and your dog wears a special collar containing a wireless receiver. Once your dog crosses a boundary, the transmitter sends a signal to the receiver. Your dog then feels an electric charge, deterring it from crossing the boundary.

Why should I choose a no-dig fence?

A no-dig fence offers your pet the chance to run and play without getting tangled up in a tether or chain. Like a traditional fence, it helps keep your pet protected and on your property. But unlike a traditional fence, it’s cost effective and easy to install!

BEST NO-DIG FENCES FOR DOGS

Where can I buy a no-dig fence?

No-dig dog fences are readily available from a variety of sources, from your local hardware store to online-only retailers. For your convenience, we’ve created an online retailer buying guide. Check out our product reviews below!

Is a no-dig fence humane?

Dog advocacy groups and fence manufacturers agree: the static correction your dog feels at the boundary of a no-dig fence is quick and painless. It’s not designed to be a pleasant sensation, but it’s as harmless as a carpet shock or a quick squirt of water to the face. Many manufacturers offer a range of intensity options, allowing owners to customize correction for their pets. If you’re still concerned, it’s never a bad idea to test the collar on yourself!

Note: Proper training will minimize the correction your dog receives through the collar. When your dog understands where to go and what to do, it will be less likely to challenge the boundary. Fewer challenges=fewer corrections.

How much does a no-dig fence cost?

A no-dig dog fence can cost up to $300—significantly less than what you’d pay to install a physical barrier! Expansions and modifications are available at extra cost (for multiple pets or larger areas.)

Is a no-dig fence portable?

Yes! One of the biggest advantages of a no-dig fence is its easy installation. Some systems are more portable than others. If portability is your biggest concern, look for a wire-free system. Many wireless no-dig fence owners report that they’ve taken their systems from the back yard to the RV campsite and back again.

Does a no-dig fence work for puppies?

Most no-dig dog fences are designed for adult dogs. We recommend that you use an alternate containment system for puppies under three months old.

Dogs come in all different sizes. Does that make a difference with a no-dig fence?

Most fence systems are designed to accommodate a wide range of dog sizes. Some fences come with standard collars designed for dogs 8 or 10 pounds and up, though special collars are available for smaller dogs. Be sure to keep your dog’s weight in mind when shopping for a no-dig fence.

Will a no-dig fence work for cats, too?

There are no-dig fence options for cat owners, too! Some no-dig fence options are designed for both dogs and cats. However, since cats can weigh much less than dogs, be sure to keep your cat’s weight in mind when shopping for a virtual fence system.

What if my dog is stubborn?

Most no-dig dog fences have a range of collar intensities, allowing you to adjust the sensation your dog feels. Some manufacturers offer custom collars for this purpose.

What if I have more than one pet?

Many no-dig fences are designed with you in mind! Some systems allow for an unlimited number of collars. Others allow only a couple, compensating with price breaks. For your convenience, every system we reviewed supports an unlimited number of pets.

Overall price range

The no-dig fence systems we reviewed ranged in price from about $130+ to $300+.

How we reviewed

We compared five different no-dig fence systems, each available online. They are listed in order of user ratings. Our top pick was ranked for its best overall value, but we think our runners-up are solid choices, too. Our criteria included:

  1. Price
  2. User ratings
  3. Number of animals supported
  4. Number of correction settings
  5. Virtual enclosure size
  6. Animal weights/sizes supported
  7. Cat inclusivity
  8. Battery life
  9. Extra features

Below, you’ll see our side-by-side system comparisons. Individual system features are discussed in more detail in our product reviews. Happy shopping!

BEST NO-DIG FENCE SYSTEMS: OUR PICKS FOR 2020

OUR REVIEWS

TOP PICK

 SportDog Brand In-Ground Fence Systems

 How it Works

This fence system uses a transmitter, a collar receiver, and a length of wire to establish a boundary for your dog. Once you’ve placed the transmitter in your home or garage, you can string the wire over the ground in the area you want your dog to be contained in. The wire can also be buried, if you prefer to keep it completely out of sight.

Once you’ve chosen your site and installed the fence, you can mark the boundaries with flags. The flags (provided with the fencing kit) show your dog where its limits are. You may remove them after your dog is trained to the fence.

Once the transmitter and receiver are in place, your dog will hear a tone or feel a quick vibration when it enters the “warning area” of the fence. This helps deter the dog from crossing the boundary. If your dog continues over the boundary, it will receive a quick, painless static correction, motivating it to return to its “safe area.”

Best Uses

The SportDog fence system is the most versatile of our picks. Although it’s not meant for small animals, it’s suitable for almost any yard size. If you’re willing to invest the time and the money, you can expand the system to enclose up to 100 acres (ideal for ranch or farm dogs!)

Users of the SportDog fence system have rated the system highly. In reviews, they’ve reported satisfaction with the system’s quality, consistency, and long-lived rechargeable battery.

What Users had to Say

Our top positive reviewer tested this system with three smaller dogs (40 lbs. and under,) ranging from 8-12 years old. The owner gave the dogs two-and-a-half weeks to adjust to being leash-free, then spent two hours training them to the fence.

Despite tempting distractions, such as roaming cats and squirrels, the dogs remained securely within the virtual enclosure. The owner reports being better able to bond with the dogs as a result of the no-dig fence. Since allowing the dogs to roam a one-acre space, the owner has played with them more frequently.

Our top critical reviewer used an expansion to cover a large area. This owner critiqued the optional in-ground installation process and the reliability of the product over time and distance. This owner reported that a few months after installation, only half of the wire spread over a forty-acre enclosure was still working. The owner planned to make the enclosure smaller to ensure reliable fence function.

AT A GLANCE

Where to Buy

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003P443C4

What Users had to Say

PetSafe YardMax Rechargeable In-Ground Fence for Dogs and Cats

How it Works

This fence system uses a transmitter, a collar receiver, and a length of wire to establish a boundary for your dog or cat. Once you’ve placed the transmitter in your home or garage, you can string the wire over the ground in the area you want your pet to be contained in. The wire for this fence is intended to be buried after placement, though it can be left above-ground if you wish (with some loss of functionality.)

Once you’ve chosen your site and installed the fence, you can mark the boundaries with flags. The flags (provided with the fencing kit) show your pet where its limits are. You may remove them after your pet is trained to the fence.

Unlike many other fences, the PetSafe YardMax system does not give a warning tone or vibration when the pet approaches the boundary. This results in a larger play area for your pet, as most pets avoid warning zones. If your pet crosses the boundary, it will receive a quick, painless static correction, motivating it to return to the “safe area.” The pet will not be corrected upon re-entry.

This system includes a feature called YardMax mode, which extends the correction area beyond the wire. (Traditional fences deliver a correction only at the wire.) YardMax mode ensures that your pet will not become too comfortable outside the enclosure area if it crosses the boundary. For your pet’s safety, corrections outside the enclosure stop after a fifteen-second period.

Best Uses

This fencing system is designed with both dogs and cats in mind, giving owners the chance to protect all of their pets. The collars are effective for pets 5 lbs. and up, making them a safe choice for most adult animals. (Many other fences will not accommodate cats or miniature dog breeds.)

The PetSafe YardMax system also features a rechargeable battery, based on hundreds of user reviews. Owners have favorably compared this product to the SportDOG system, which has similar features but isn’t safe for pets under 10 lbs.

What Users had to Say

Our top positive reviewer spent many hours researching, comparing, and testing virtual fencing systems. The owner considered the PetSafe Yardmax Rechargeable In-Ground Fencing System to be the best on the consumer market, citing its range of features.

The owner advised other users to plan the virtual boundary carefully, considering all possible configuration options. (This fence allows for flexible arrangements, but owners can get overwhelmed with the number of options available.)

Our top critical reviewer appreciated the system overall, sharing that two 100-pound Rottweilers had been trained to stay in the yard within half an hour. However, the owner critiqued the durability of the plastic collars.

After a period of use, the collars broke and became unusable. The owner was forced to replace each one (at significant expense.)

AT A GLANCE

Where to Buy

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0001ZWZ8O

 

PetSafe Wireless Dog and Cat Containment System

How it Works

This fence system uses a transmitter and a receiver collar to establish a boundary for your dog or cat. Unlike many other systems, this one is completely wire-free. Once you’ve placed the transmitter in your home or garage and plugged it in, setup is as simple as adjusting the dial to create your circular coverage area.

Once you’ve chosen your site and installed the transmitter, you can mark the boundaries with flags. The flags (provided with the fencing kit) show your pet where its limits are. You may remove them after your pet is trained to the fence.

In use, your system will deliver a small static correction when your pet crosses its boundary. The PetSafe Wireless Containment System is designed to allow a correction-free re-entry if your pet leaves the boundary area. This helps motivate your pet to stay within its virtual enclosure.

Best Uses

This virtual fence system ties for our most portable pick, and for the easiest to install. Since there’s no wire, installation can be completed in an hour or two. This system might meet your needs if you value portability and don’t need a large enclosure area.

Users have reported installing the system both in the back yard and the RV campsite. All you need is a relatively level space, free of large metal objects, and a power source for the transmitter.

The PetSafe Wireless Dog and Cat Containment System has earned a 4/5-star user rating, based on over 4,000 reviews.

What Users had to Say

Our top positive reviewer appreciated this system’s ease of installation, as well as the ease of training pets to respect the boundaries. The user, an owner of a stubborn husky, reported that the dog learned to respect her enclosure after two corrections on the second-lowest static level, even though she had a long, thick coat. The owner also personally tested the collar and shared that the correction felt like a carpet shock—mild, but persuasive.

Ultimately, the dog learned not to be afraid to leave the enclosure on a leash. The owner trained the dog to stay in the enclosure while the collar was on, but once the collar was removed the dog understood she was allowed to take a walk.

Our top critical reviewer, a German Shepherd owner, critiqued the fence for a lack of consistency. Initially, the fence seemed to work for this user. But over time, it grew less consistent.

The owner reported that the dog started getting corrections while inside the boundaries. At times, the dog also went beyond the boundaries without receiving correction. This created confusion for the dog and frustration for the owner.

AT A GLANCE

Where to Buy

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0001ZWZ8O

Is a no-dig fence humane?

Sit Boo-Boo Electric Fence Advanced

How it Works

This fence system uses a transmitter, a collar receiver, and a length of wire to establish a boundary for your dog. Once you’ve placed the transmitter in your home or garage, you can string the wire over the ground in the area you want your pet to be contained in. You can bury the wire to keep it out of sight, or, for a faster installation, secure it above ground.

Once you’ve chosen your site and installed the fence, you can mark the boundaries with flags. The flags (provided with the fencing kit) show your pet where its limits are. You may remove them after your pet is trained to the fence.

Unlike many other fences, the Sit Boo-Boo fence uses an autocorrect feature to deliver a static correction when your dog approaches the boundary. The dog will receive a weak correction as it nears the boundary. If it continues to approach, the correction will get stronger the closer the dog is to the boundary. For your pet’s safety, there is a ten-second correction limit.

Best Uses

The Sit Boo-Boo system is the least expensive virtual fence we reviewed. Though it isn’t the highest rated or the sturdiest of our picks, its price point gives owners a chance to try it out without too much of a financial investment. This might be a good system for owners who plan to build a physical fence at some point in the future.

Additionally, it has an autocorrect feature that allows for a graded system of correction, and a rechargeable battery that saves owners the expense of frequent battery replacements.

What Users had to Say

Our top positive reviewer was initially disappointed in the consistency of the product. However, timely assistance from customer service got things working properly. (The company seems to have taken the initiative to reach out with troubleshooting ideas.)

Our top critical reviewer voiced concerns about product defects, potentially due to shipping issues. During installation, the owner discovered that the power adapter was broken. This created delays and resulted in a frustrating start. Other critical reviewers noted issues with correction consistency.

AT A GLANCE

Where to Buy

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074JKV1NG

 

PetSafe Free to Roam Dog and Cat Wireless Fence

How it Works

This fence system uses a transmitter and a receiver collar to establish a boundary for your dog or cat. Unlike many other systems, this one is completely wire-free. Once you’ve placed the transmitter in your home or garage and plugged it in, setup is as simple as adjusting the dial to create your circular coverage area.

Once you’ve chosen your site and installed the transmitter, you can mark the boundaries with flags. The flags (provided with the fencing kit) show your pet where its limits are. You may remove them after your pet is trained to the fence.

In use, your system will deliver a static correction when your pet crosses its boundary. The PetSafe Free to Roam Dog and Cat Wireless Fence is designed to allow a correction-free re-entry if your pet leaves the boundary area. This helps motivate your pet to stay within its virtual enclosure.

Best Uses

Much like its cousin, the PetSafe Wireless Dog and Cat Containment System, this virtual enclosure set is highly portable and easy to install. It can be taken from home to RV campsite with ease. The primary difference between the Free to Roam and the Wireless Containment system versions is the collar: this version works for pets 5 lbs. and up with no customization necessary.

Although wireless systems like this one won’t work for every yard, they are appropriate for relatively flat areas that are free of large metal objects.

What Users had to Say

Our top positive reviewer had to spend time finding a suitable location for the transmitter but was ultimately pleased with the results. The owner’s house was long, with a basement and a sloped yard. After some initial struggles with the signal, our user found a location without interference and trained a miniature schnauzer to respect the boundaries while enjoying the entire enclosure area.

Our top critical reviewer struggled with the wireless signal, possibly due to interference from terrain or metal objects. The owner spent hours adjusting the enclosure and placing flags, only to discover that each adjustment changed the enclosure area dramatically.

In use, the enclosure area shifted from day to day. The owner eventually returned the system, reasoning that the changing boundaries were unfair to the dogs.

AT A GLANCE

Where to buy

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DZS4PSQ