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The Dog Fence Guy's General Troubleshooting Tips

“Dog Running Through the Fence” Solutions

We have very few problems of this nature. Over the years we find that most of the time when someone says their fence is not working or the dog thinks there is a “hole” in the fence, or the dog leaves the yard when there is snow on the ground, we find it is usually a user problem. This is a very difficult thing to have to say to a customer, so please, check out the following sections on “properly fitted collars” and “How to change the shock level” and all battery issues on this page before you call for service, as we charge to come to your home for all services.

Receiver Collar Questions & Troubleshooting

What is a properly fitted collar?

Each time you put the receiver collar on your pet, check that it fits properly and the contact posts make firm contact with your pet’s skin. If necessary, shave an area under your dog’s neck about the size of a deck of playing cards, and use longer contact posts.

  1. Stand your dog up on all four feet.
  2. Pull the receiver collar so it is as high on his neck as it will go, almost like you are going to pull it up over his ears, but stop behind his ears. (Leave it there for about 10 seconds. If it slips down, it is too loose.)
  3. Orient the receiver under the chin of your dog, or behind his ear.
  4. While keeping him standing on all four feet, press the head and neck down so that the top of the head and neck are level with the shoulders of your standing dog (imagine him looking like a pointer, or even with his nose to the ground). It is absolutely critical that you position your pet as described above. Do NOT test the fit while your pet is setting on his rear. Remember, your pet is leaving the yard on all four feet with his head pointed out, or his nose to the ground, not scooting out on his bottom!
  5. Slip your fingertip between the skin of your dog’s neck and the tip of the point. You should only be able to almost slip a fingertip between a contact post and your pet’s skin for a proper fit.
  6. If you placed it behind his ear, it should not slip down out of position.
    If your collar is looser than described above, remove the collar, shorten the length of it so it is tighter on your pet, then repeat this process starting at step 1 above until the collar is properly fit.

Once the collar is properly fitted, if your dog was running through the fence, put your dog on a leash and walk him into the fence to reintroduce him to the shock. You will do this to show your dog that the fence is working again. This allows your dog to get shocked under a controlled situation, eliminating the chance that he will think the fence is still not working causing him to bolt through the shock. This should prevent future and additional “run through attepts”.

Note: Shorter hair on your dog’s neck is preferable to a tighter collar. Take your dog to your groomer, or cut it yourself with electric shears. The hair should be 1/8 of an inch or shorter. Cut the neck from the bottom of the chin to the top of the chest, from ear to ear. This area is about the size of a deck of cards on most dogs.

Note: As instructed during your training session, it is essential that you regularly check your pet’s neck, as a properly fit collar can cause neck sores if it is not removed every night. Also, do NOT attach a leash to your containment collar to walk the dog. Pressure from pulling on the leash could injure the skin on your pet, or bruise his esophagus. Neck sores can also develop if the receiver is too tight for too long, and/or if your pet ’s neck gets wet from swimming, wading, sprinklers, sloppy drinking, bathing, etc. Check your dog regularly for a rash or sores. Other symptoms might include:

  • A “wet” feeling under his neck or on his collar when you take it off.
  • A foul smell about your dog and or on his collar that may make you wonder ” what could my pet have rolled in?”
  • An ongoing foul smell that does not go away after bathing your dog.
  • A gunky, smelly build-up on his receiver collar usually paired with the foul smell and wetness of the dog and collar.

Should a rash or sore develop, call your vet immediately for treatment advice.

Testing the collar
(to answer the questions: “Is the shock working?”)

Take the collar into the yard. Close the strap so it is as though your dog is wearing it. Hold the back of the strap, with the receiver hanging at the bottom of the collar loop, at 6 o’clock, and the points pointing up to 12 o’clock. Now walk into the yard holding the collar in this position, stooping over so you are holding the collar at the same level above the ground as it is when your dog is walking in the yard. Please do NOT hold the collar up as high as your own ears and try to hear it beep. It will not work since the signal is not adjusted to activate the collar much above your dog’s neck level (Caution, you might shock your ear if you are holding it too close. We have heard some amusing anecdotes about this. While we find the stories amusing, we hope it does not happen to you.) As you approach the edge of the yard, you should hear the collar begin to “beep” or “tick”. This result will tell you:

  1. The receiver is working.
  2. The batteries are good.
  3. The wall-mounted wall-mounted transmitter is working.
  4. The dog should be getting shocked if it goes too far.

Note: If you do not hear the collar beeping, please consider testing it on your own fingers. Touch both points on the collar while it is ticking or beeping. If you do not feel a shock, then there may be a problem with the receiver collar. Make sure you touch both points on the receiver at the same time when you hear the collar beeping. It will tell you definitively that the fence is or is not working. It is a good thing if when you test your collar at the signal field and it makes continuous “Beep, Beep, Beep” sound. However, just because the collar makes noise, it does not mean that the shock is turned up high enough to get the attention of your dog. Therefore, you may need to change the shock level OR tighten the collar or shorten the neck hair, or adjust where the collar is worn to a higher position on the neck or ALL THE ABOVE.

My collar receiver does not beep anymore, but it still shocks.

  • There is nothing that can be done to make a collar’s beep audible again.
  • A collar does not have to beep for the dog to remain contained. Proof is the fact that we have trained quite a few deaf dogs who stay in the yard quite well. However, if you want your collar to beep, call us. We can discuss warranty options with you.
    Also, sometimes the beep sound is too soft for you to hear. This does not indicate that your collar is not working, only that you do not hear it. Chances are, your dog hears it just fine.

We have gotten calls that the collar is not working because the dog is not crying or whimpering when he gets too near the fence. This is not a fool-proof evidence that the fence is not working. Test it yourself.

The RED LIGHT on my collar is on all the time. How do I turn it off?

This is an indication that there is something wrong. The light should either be off, indicating the battery is good and the collar is operating normally, or off, indicating the battery is dead (see other section on testing the battery), or flashing to indicate a low battery situation.

If the light is steady “ON”, the collar probably still beeps and shocks, but the battery is being consumed faster than normal. You can test the collar to see if it is working, but you probably cannot adjust the shock level. This scenario cannot be remedied beyond attempting to remove the battery for a few minutes. After the light goes out, put the batteries back. This is akin to rebooting a computer. If the situation continues after trying this a few times, for the sake of your dog’s safety, you should call me to arrange a replacement.

Why is my collar beeping all over the house and yard?

Take the collar off your dog immediately and unplug your wall-mounted transmitter (the box on the wall in the garage or basement).

  • If your collar stopped beeping when you unplugged the the wall-mounted transmitter then there may be a problem with your wall-mounted transmitter.
  • Plug the wall-mounted transmitter back in and press the bottom button on the wall-mounted transmitter to turn the “Field Range” or signal down. You might look at the label we placed on our card next to your wall-mounted transmitter. We wrote a number on that label. If the number displayed on the digital readout on the wall-mounted transmitter is bigger than the one we wrote on the label, then use the “Down” button to adjust the signal back to the proper setting. Call us if this does not fix the problem.
  • If unplugging the wall-mounted transmitter did not make the receiver stop beeping, then a neighbor may have their wall-mounted transmitter turned up too high. Call your neighbors. Like you, we have no control over your neighbors.

My dog left the yard and there is snow or ice on the ground.

Neither snow nor ice affect your dog’s fence. It does however affect your dog’s perception of the boundaries of the yard. Imagine this… Every landmark on the ground is now covered by snow. Therefore, your dog no longer properly judges where his edge of the yard is at that moment. He must re-learn. If the dog got shocked and backed up, then you do not have a problem. If your dog ambled through the shock or beep and did not care, then go to the top of this page and start trouble shooting. Start with the section on "What is a properly fitted collar"

Note: If you take your collar out into the yard and test it as I describe on this page, and it is working and your dog is still leaving then you have a contact issue or it needs to shock harder. No Beep and no Shock means you need to start by replacing the batteries then test it again. Consider that you need to change the shock level OR tighten the collar or shorten the neck hair, or adjust where the collar is worn to a higher position on the neck or ALL THE ABOVE.


Collar Nylon & Battery Questions

Why does the collar keep falling off my dog?

The primary reason that a collar would come off of a dog is because the clasp that secures the collar on the dog is damaged or broken. Often the damage is not readily apparent. If you closely examine the clasp, you will see one or two things that will give this condition away.

  1. You may see a hairline crack in the female part of the clasp and usually teeth marks. This kind of damage comes a dog chewing on the clasp. This happens when you have two or more dogs. One dog will occasionally chew on the other dogs’ collar. You may confirm this problem by slowly inserting the male end of the clasp into the receiving end of the clasp. As you insert, observe the female part. Does it slightly expand and expose a crack? A cracked receiving end will allow the buckle to open under the right amount of stress.
  2. You may also see obvious damage to the male part of the buckle. This damage is pretty unmistakable as dog chew problems. Do not delay. Replace the nylon collar immediately. The longer you wait, the more likely your dog will get the collar off and lose it behind the bushes allowing him to escape and requiring you to purchase not just a new nylon collar, but a new receiver as well. See the top of this page about our service parts store.
  3. Another reason for this problem would be that the collar is too loose. A properly fit collar cannot be tugged or pulled over the head of the dog.

How do I replace the nylon collar?

We have a ready supply of replacement nylon collars. Please visit our store for a replacement. This is a user serviceable item and is not considered a warranty item. You can replace the nylon collar yourself (or call us for a service call) with a pliers or small wrench to grip and turn the points counter-clockwise (lefty loosey). Once the points and point retainer(s) is/are off of the old nylon collar, you will see two large holes in the nylon collar. Using a new replacement nylon collar, simply reattach the points in the reverse of the above procedure, this time tightening the points in a clockwise direction (“Righty Tighty)” first by hand, then with a wrench until they are snugly seated against the receiver. However, be careful not to over-tighten and break them off.

If you wish to make your own new custom nylon receiver strap, use the holes in your old strap as a template for the same size and spaced holes in your own collar. However, NEVER improvise by making your own new collar that has smaller holes than the ones in the original nylon collar. Smaller holes create complications that result in broken contact points (manufacturers will not cover under warranty). The wrong size holes will also cause a “shorting” of the correction through a damp nylon collar, bypassing your dog. Shorting renders your receiver shockingly useless. Your dog will walk out of the yard without correction. For these reasons, please purchase a new nylon strap that is already made for your receiver. They are inexpensive and keep your dog safe with a properly working device.

If while attempting to remove the points, you realize the points do not unscrew, but instead, just turn and turn and turn, STOP turning them and call us. This condition means the points are broken off inside the receiver and your receiver probably no longer shocks. If you continue turning the points, the device will fail if it hasn’t already.

How long will the batteries last in my collar?

Your batteries will usually last 4-6 months. Occasionally a battery may last much longer. However, life of the battery is a function of the quality of the battery and your dog’s behavior. Regularly check your receiver near the edge of your yard. Also, recall that your receiver has a low battery indicator light. It is designed to flash approximately every 5 seconds when the battery is almost dead. It will stop flashing when the battery is dead. Change it immediately after you first observe the flashing light on your receiver. Also, before you go on vacation and have a neighbor coming to your home to check on your dog, please make sure your battery is good. It is also a good idea to check the battery when you come home from a vacation or if you have not been using the collar on your dog for a while, as it might have flashed the low battery alert when you were out of town, or while it was lying hidden in the drawer. If you do not test, and your battery is dead, your dog will figure it out. You never want this to happen, especially when you are on vacation and the kid down the street is watching your dog. An experience like this is quite frightening and can ruin a vacation. You will be wondering if the low battery light indicator really works. It works.

Warning: If your low battery light blinked and the battery store tells you your battery should still be a good, try putting it back in the receiver while you are still at the store. If it blinks, REPLACE it. If it does not blink when you reinsert it into the collar (“+” side facing out), then the battery is still good.

 Wall-mounted Transmitter Troubleshooting

The wall-mounted Transmitter is incessantly beeping.

Your Wire is cut or the wires are pulled out of the wall-mounted Transmitter or the lightning protector.
If your wall-mounted Transmitter is Incessantly beeping: Your fence is not working. Your wire is cut, or a splice in your line has gone bad. The bad splice could have occurred over a year ago. It could also be the result of damage from some time ago that has finally failed. You should unplug the wall-mounted Transmitter to stop the beeping and call us immediately to schedule a service call. Note: No part of the fence works if the fence is beeping. Note: A solution you can attempt is to increase the range of the fence by turning the range adjustment knob on your wall-mounted Transmitter. If increasing the range fixes the problem, then you need not call us for service yet. Decreasing the range knob will also stop the beeping stop, but it does not fix the fence. Your dog will leave the yard if you turn down the range and the beeping stops. Call us for this situation.

If the wires are pulled loose from the lightning protector, the wall-mounted Transmitter will beep incessantly and your fence is not working. Note both the “Loop” and “wall-mounted Transmitter” wires are usually stapled to the wall in a single sheathed casing. As it reaches the device at the electrical plug, the wires are stripped back so that two wires are exposed. One wire is usually Black while the other is usually Red, but sometimes Green. Please note however, the colors of the wires and tabs do not matter for either the loop or wall-mounted Transmitter.

Push the LOOP connector tab of the right or left firmly away from yourself. The connector jaws will open. Push one of the stripped wires (copper exposed) coming up the wall from the “Loop” or yard, into the opening created from pushing one of the “Loop” tabs. Release the tab then gently pull on the wire to certify it is tightly connected. Do the same thing for any other loose wires. Note: Only connect “Loop” wires to the “Loop” side, and “wall-mounted Transmitter” wires to the “wall-mounted Transmitter” side. Improperly connected wires will make the wall-mounted Transmitter stop beeping but will NOT protect your dog.

The wall-mounted Transmitter lights are lit but nothing happens with the collar.
Troubleshoot your collar first. Then verify that someone did not pull the wires out of the lightning protector and reinserted them incorrectly. The wires from the outside should be inserted into the “LOOP” side. The wires going to the wall-mounted transmitter should be inserted into the “TRANSMITTER” side. Nothing else works.

If your wall-mounted Transmitter continues to beep, inspect your work and repeat the procedure. Call us for service.

Intermittent beeping

Your fence is not working. If you have a range control knob, try turning it a little higher. This sometimes makes the beeping stop. Note: Sometimes this is a sign that you have a bad splice in the yard. (Remember when the cable TV or phone or landscapers cut your wire and told you not to worry because they fix these things all the time?) We cannot find a bad splice until the beeping on your wall-mounted transmitter becomes incessant. Call us when it is incessant, then we can help. However, we can find it when it is intermittent, it just takes longer and costs you more. You have to decide when it is appropriate to call us for service.

Loop 2 is not lit. Should there be more than 2 red lights lit on my PetSafe® wall-mounted Transmitter?

You discovered this because your dog left the yard and you went to check the transmitter and you see that Power and Loop 1 are lit up, but Loop 2 is off.  Right? If your wall-mounted transmitter is not beeping, then nothing is wrong. 99% of our customers do not use LOOP 2. You probably fall into this majority. Yes. Your yard has a front and a back zone. You therefore logically believe Loop 1 is for the front or back zone and therefore loop 2 is for the other. However, the two zones are connected via the same Loop 1 and are not independent of each other. “LOOP 2” is reserved for special scenarios. In most cases, LOOP 2 should NOT be lit unless we installed a separate loop to wire inside your home, pond, pool, gate or garden. Even then, when we wire a garden, we often still only used Loop 1. The bottom line: Your wall-mounted Transmitter is operating normally if your wall-mounted Transmitter is NOT beeping. Check the collar troubleshooting tips at the top of this page to resolve why your dog left.

Why are there NO Lights lit on the wall-mounted Transmitter?

You have no power. Your fence is not working. There is no electricity getting to the wall-mounted Transmitter. Please do the following before you call:

  • Someone needed this plug for the Christmas lights, a tool or to charge theBarbie car. Plug it back in.
  • Check the black power line that goes from the outlet to the wall-mounted Transmitter. Press it firmly back into the receptacle of the wall-mounted Transmitter.
  • Reset the breaker.
  • Turn the power strip back on.
  • Reset the GFI (or GFCI). (Note: A GFI is an electrical plug that stops the flow of electricity when it detects a possible “short” or dangerous current condition. Most garage outlets are attached to one. The GFI that controls your outlet may be in the garage, bathroom, basement, laundry room, kitchen, guest bathroom, front porch, deck, etc. To reset a GFI, you must press in the “Reset” button. Check all of your GFI outlets before you call.)
  • Plug an extension cord into a known working outlet, then plug the fence power supply into the extension cord. If your fence works then your outlet is not working. If it does not work, try a different outlet or a different extension cord.
  • Plug a blow dryer or other portable appliance into the same outlet that the wall-mounted Transmitter is plugged into. If the appliance works then your outlet is good and you should call us.

How deep is the wire?

If we ran our installation machine (as opposed to hand installation) the wire will most likely be three to six inches in depth.  However it is shallower where we encountered tree roots or rocks.  In areas where we knew or suspected there are phone lines, cable TV lines, outdoor lighting lines, drains, sprinkler control lines or sprinkler heads, your line is also much shallower so we could avoid damage to these facilities.

Over time, tree roots and erosion will expose or lift your wire out of the ground where they could become vulnerable to everyday activities and gnawing squirrels or chipmunks.

In mulched gardens or rock gardens or stone creek beds or stone drainage ways: the wire is usually stapled or placed under the mulch or laid under the stone, but on top of the soil.  We do this so you can locate it easily before you commence future digging.

Your wire may not be deep enough to prevent damage from lawn aeration, yard maintenance equipment (lawn mowers are safe)  or shovels. Even verti-cutting or cross-cutting for new seeding or de-thatching can be bad news for your wire where we are shallow around utilities or if we had to hand lay your wire under the sod, or if erosion has occurred or if tree roots have lifted your wire.

If you have intrusive yard work scheduled, such as new drains, phone line or cable line burial, outdoor lighting, aeration, re-edging gardens, new edging gardens, sprinkler system installation and repair, etc.. on your schedule, you are wise to ask us to locate where your wire is before the work. Call us for an appointment to mark your yard to prevent expensive repair work.  We charge for this service, but it costs far less than replacing the line.

I am going to aerate my yard. Should I have the wire located or marked first?

Yes. See above as to the reasons why.  And yes, we do charge for this service. However, in the long run it costs much less to have us mark the wire than to repair it over and over again as knicks in the line corrode and create new breaks in the line in the future.  Please call a few days in advance of your work so we have time to efficiently place you on the calendar and to insure we have time to make it to your home in plenty of time before your work is to be completed.

I am going to verticut my yard. Should I locate or mark the wire first?

Maybe. Maybe not.  I do not know if your wire has moved closer to the surface because of erosion or roots, or surging from freeze and thaw. It costs less to err on the side of caution, but most people successfully verticut their lawns without damage to the wire. But still see above as to the reasons why you might want to consider calling us anyway. And yes, we do charge for this service. However, in the long run it costs much less to have us mark the wire than to repair it over and over again as knicks in the line corrode and create new breaks in the line in the future.  Please call a few days in advance of your work so we have time to efficiently place you on the calendar and to insure we have time to make it to your home in plenty of time before your work is to be completed.

We plan to have our driveway worked on (mud-jacked, replaced, restored) and the fence crosses this area. Should we worry about our wire?

Your concrete contractor can place a PVC conduit under the rebar before he pours concrete and we can then put a wire thru it, or we can put a wire down before he pours without the conduit, or we can do it after the job is done IF there is no fancy edges that you do not want us to cut with a saw.

Perhaps, your best choice if we can time it well, is to be there after the concrete is knocked out, but before the new concrete is poured. This is about a one hour window.

It costs a little more to do it after the concrete is poured because we have to cut it with our saw, but it is difficult to catch that one hour window of opportunity.

Have a question? Call or text 717-542-5663

CLICK HERE FOR AN ESTIMATE!