If you have a pet that loves to roam around your yard, you may be looking for a way to keep them safe and secure without installing a physical fence. One option that many pet owners consider is an invisible fence, which is an electronic boundary system that uses a transmitter, a boundary wire, and a receiver collar to contain your pet within a certain area.
But how does an invisible fence work, and does it need to be a closed loop? In this article, we will explain the basics of an invisible fence, the pros and cons of using one, the different types of invisible fences available, and the installation and maintenance requirements. We will also answer the question of whether an invisible fence needs to be a closed loop or not, and what are the benefits and drawbacks of each option.
What is an Invisible Fence?
An invisible fence is a wireless system that transmits a radio signal through a boundary wire that is buried underground around the perimeter of your property. The signal is picked up by a special collar worn by your pet that receives a warning beep when they approach the boundary. If your pet continues to approach the boundary, the collar will deliver a mild static correction to deter them from crossing the boundary. The level of correction can be adjusted to suit your pet’s temperament and training needs.
An invisible fence is a popular and effective way to keep your pet safe, while also allowing them to enjoy the outdoors without the need for a physical fence. An invisible fence has many benefits, including:
– Cost-Effective: Invisible fences are usually less expensive than traditional fences, which makes them a great option for pet owners on a budget.
– Easy to Install: Unlike traditional fences, invisible fences can be installed quickly and easily. This makes them a great option for those who don’t have the time or money to install a physical fence.
– Flexible: An invisible fence can be designed to fit any shape or size, so you can customize it to fit your pet’s needs. This also makes them a great option for large and oddly-shaped properties.
– Safe and Secure: An invisible fence can be used to keep your pet safe and secure, as it is designed to prevent them from wandering outside of their designated area.
However, an invisible fence also has some drawbacks, such as:
– Training Required: An invisible fence requires some training for your pet to understand how it works and where the boundaries are. This may take some time and patience, depending on your pet’s personality and learning ability.
– Battery Dependent: An invisible fence relies on batteries to power the transmitter and the collar. This means that you need to check and replace the batteries regularly, or else the system may fail and your pet may escape.
– Interference Possible: An invisible fence may be affected by external factors such as metal objects, electrical wires, or other radio signals. This may cause the system to malfunction or create gaps in the boundary.
– Not Visible: An invisible fence is not visible to other people or animals, which means that they may not know that there is a boundary in place. This may cause problems if you have visitors or neighbors who may accidentally cross the boundary or try to interact with your pet.
Does an Invisible Fence Need to Be a Closed Loop?
One of the most common questions that pet owners have about an invisible fence is whether it needs to be a closed loop or not. A closed loop is a system where the boundary wire starts and ends at the transmitter, creating a continuous loop. This type of system is often used for containment purposes, but it’s not the only option.
An open loop system is another type of invisible fence that may be suitable for your needs. Unlike a closed loop, an open loop system does not need to be a continuous loop. Instead, the boundary wire is run from the transmitter to a specific point, creating a boundary that your pet cannot cross. This type of system is often used to keep pets out of specific areas, such as gardens or pools.
So, does an invisible fence need to be a closed loop? The answer is no, it doesn’t have to be a closed loop. You can create any shape you want with the boundary wire, as long as it is connected to the transmitter. However, there are some advantages and disadvantages of each option that you should consider before making your decision.
Advantages of a Closed Loop System
A closed loop system has some advantages over an open loop system, such as:
– Complete Containment: A closed loop system provides complete containment for your pet within the entire loop area. This means that your pet can enjoy more freedom and space without risking escaping or getting into trouble.
– No Dead Zones: A closed loop system ensures that there are no dead zones or gaps in the boundary where your pet can cross without receiving a warning or correction. This makes the system more reliable and consistent.
– Easier Installation: A closed loop system is easier to install than an open loop system, as you don’t need to use any special wire or connectors to connect the two ends of the boundary wire. You simply run the wire around the perimeter of your property and connect it back to the transmitter.
Disadvantages of a Closed Loop System
A closed loop system also has some disadvantages over an open loop system, such as:
– Less Flexibility: A closed loop system is less flexible than an open loop system, as you can’t create any shapes or zones that are not connected to the loop. This means that you can’t use the system to exclude certain areas from your pet’s access, such as gardens or pools.
– More Wire Required: A closed loop system requires more wire than an open loop system, as you need to run the wire around the entire perimeter of your property. This may increase the cost and complexity of the installation.
Advantages of an Open Loop System
An open loop system has some advantages over a closed loop system, such as:
– More Flexibility: An open loop system is more flexible than a closed loop system, as you can create any shapes or zones that are not connected to the loop. This means that you can use the system to exclude certain areas from your pet’s access, such as gardens or pools.
– Less Wire Required: An open loop system requires less wire than a closed loop system, as you only need to run the wire from the transmitter to a specific point. This may reduce the cost and complexity of the installation.
Disadvantages of an Open Loop System
An open loop system also has some disadvantages over a closed loop system, such as:
– Partial Containment: An open loop system provides partial containment for your pet within a certain area. This means that your pet can still escape or get into trouble if they cross the boundary in another direction.
– Dead Zones Possible: An open loop system may create dead zones or gaps in the boundary where your pet can cross without receiving a warning or correction. This may happen if the wire is too close to the transmitter, if there is interference from other sources, or if the wire is damaged or broken.
– Special Wire Required: An open loop system requires a special wire to connect the two ends of the boundary wire. This wire is called a twisted pair wire, and it cancels out the signal so that your pet can cross it without receiving a warning or correction. You need to use this wire to connect the boundary wire back to the transmitter, or else you will create a dead zone.
Installation and Maintenance of an Invisible Fence
Installing and maintaining an invisible fence is not very difficult, but it does require some planning and preparation. Here are some steps that you should follow to install and maintain an invisible fence:
1. Plan Your Layout: Before you start installing your invisible fence, you should plan your layout and decide whether you want a closed loop or an open loop system. You should also measure your property and calculate how much wire you will need. You can use online tools or apps to help you with this step.
2. Install Your Transmitter: The transmitter is the device that sends the signal through the boundary wire. You should install it indoors, near a power outlet and away from any sources of interference. You should also make sure that it is compatible with your collar and that it has enough range to cover your property.
3. Bury Your Wire: The boundary wire is the wire that carries the signal around your property. You should bury it about 1-3 inches deep along your planned layout. You should also use flags or markers to indicate where the boundary is for your pet’s training. If you have an open loop system, you should use a twisted pair wire to connect the two ends of the boundary wire back to the transmitter.
4. Fit Your Collar: The collar is the device that receives the signal from the boundary wire and delivers a warning beep and a static correction to your pet. You should fit it snugly on your pet’s neck, making sure that the contact points touch their skin. You should also check and replace the batteries regularly, and adjust the level of correction according to your pet’s needs.
5. Train Your Pet: Training your pet is an essential part of using an invisible fence. You should start by introducing your pet to the boundary area and teaching them to retreat when they hear the warning beep. You should then gradually increase the level of correction until your pet learns to respect the boundary. You should also reinforce their behavior with praise and treats. Training may take several weeks or months, depending on your pet’s personality and learning ability.
Types of Invisible Fences – Underground vs Wireless vs GPS
There are different types of invisible fences available on the market, each with their own features and benefits. Here are some of the most common types:
Underground Invisible Fences
Underground invisible fences are also known as in-ground or wired invisible fences. They consist of a wire that is buried along the perimeter of your desired area, connected to a transmitter that plugs into an outlet. The wire emits a radio signal that is picked up by the receiver collar on your dog.
The main benefit of underground invisible fences is that they allow you to customize the shape and size of your boundary. You can create curves, angles, and even exclude certain areas within the boundary, such as flower beds or pools. You can also expand the boundary by adding more wire if needed.
The main drawback of underground invisible fences is that they require more installation time and effort. You will need to dig a trench along the boundary line, lay the wire, and cover it with soil. You will also need to check the wire periodically for breaks or damage caused by weather, rodents, or digging. Additionally, underground invisible fences may not work well in areas with rocky or uneven terrain, or where there is interference from other electronic devices.
Wireless Invisible Fences
Wireless invisible fences are also known as cordless or wireless containment systems. They consist of a transmitter that emits a circular signal around a central point, creating a dome-shaped boundary for your dog. The transmitter can be placed indoors or outdoors, as long as it has access to an outlet. The receiver collar on your dog detects the signal and warns your dog when he approaches the edge of the boundary.
The main benefit of wireless invisible fences is that they are easy to set up and use. You simply plug in the transmitter, adjust the radius of the boundary, and put the collar on your dog. You can also move the transmitter to different locations if you want to change the boundary area, or take it with you when you travel.
The main drawback of wireless invisible fences is that they offer less flexibility and accuracy than underground invisible fences. You can only create a circular boundary with wireless invisible fences, which may not suit your yard shape or size. You also cannot exclude certain areas within the boundary, such as gardens or pools. Moreover, wireless invisible fences may be affected by obstacles such as trees, buildings, or metal objects that block or distort the signal.
GPS Invisible Fences
GPS invisible fences are also known as satellite or smart invisible fences. They use GPS technology to create a virtual boundary for your dog, based on coordinates that you set on a smartphone app. The receiver collar on your dog communicates with satellites and sends alerts to your phone when your dog approaches or crosses the boundary.
The main benefit of GPS invisible fences is that they offer the most flexibility and convenience of all types of invisible fences. You can create any shape and size of boundary with GPS invisible fences, and change it anytime from your phone. You can also monitor your dog’s location and activity in real time from your phone, and receive notifications if your dog leaves the boundary or if the battery is low.
The main drawback of GPS invisible fences is that they are more expensive and less reliable than other types of invisible fences. You will need to pay a monthly subscription fee for the GPS service, as well as purchase a compatible collar and app. You will also need to have good cellular coverage and internet connection for the GPS system to work properly. Additionally, GPS invisible fences may not work well in areas with dense foliage, tall buildings, or extreme weather conditions that interfere with the satellite signal.