This troubleshooting guide is designed to help you properly diagnose and fix some of the most common issues with underground electric dog fence systems. As we deal with various underground electric dog fencing systems, these tips may not always apply to your specific situation. If you need further assistance, please fill out our Online Service Request Form.
There are (3) components to underground electric dog fencing. You'll need to diagnose which part or more is not working:
1. Electronics—Usually this consists of a transmitter that is typically mounted on a wall, a receiver collar that the dog wears, and sometimes a surge protector that is plugged into an outlet. The transmitter gets plugged into this, and the wiring from outside to the transmitter goes through this part.
2. Boundary Wire—This is the buried wire that encompasses your dog fenced area.
3. The Dog—We usually find that your four-legged friend is usually not the problem, but is the one that has finally realized that your system isn't working.
It is in our experience that the most frequent cause of a dog running through a dog fence is a loose receiver collar, or a dead battery that either needs to be replaced or recharged. Sometimes, the battery was even inserted upside down. Do you remember seeing a low battery light blinking on the collar? if your collar has a correction level adjustment button, see if the LED bulb comes on when pressed. At least that will tell you whether your battery is functioning or not.
The collar should have a nice snug fit under the neck. You should barely be able to get the tips of your fingers between the probe tips on the receiver and the neck of the dog. If you can get your whole hand between the receiver and neck, or you're able to rotate the collar around the neck with little or no friction, it's probably way too loose.
Most systems have a tester that you lay on the tips of the receiver. Once you do that, go to your fence line. Usually it's best to use the line across the driveway, since you know where that's at. See if your tester lights the bulb up inside and if you hear the collar alarming.
If so, then there's a good chance you just need to snug up the collar. However, if the fit is correct, and your dog continues to run through the dog fence, then it may be time to turn the level of correction up. To do this, refer to your owners manual. You can call or text us at (717) 542-5663 if you don't have an owners manual and need assistance. There are many brands out there and they may change levels differently.
Now we have to dig a bit further! We will now investigate the transmitter. Is it plugged in? Is it beeping?
Is it plugged into a GFCI outlet that has tripped and needs to be reset? Is there a breaker in your electrical panel that tripped?
To figure that out, just plug a lamp or something into the outlet to see if you have power there. If you don't have power at the outlet, then check on the two items mentioned above.
So now that you've established you have power at the outlet. If your transmitter still has no lights on it, then we need to find out why. Through the process of elimination, if you have a surge protector on your transmitter, take that out of the equation. Plug the transmitter into another outlet, and then place a wire nut on the twisted wires. This means taking one wire that comes into the home and attaching it to one wire going into the transmitter. Repeat this step for the two remaining wires. However, if the wires coming in from the outside are long enough, you can just wire them directly into the transmitter.
In this case, either the transmitter is burned out or the plug-in transformer is bad. It is recommended that you just replace both items.
Chances are, you just need to replace the surge protector. The bad surge protector did its job. It protected your dog fence transmitter. We highly recommend replacing the surge protector as soon as you can because this issue could come back and then take out the transmitter. Test your collars at the line!
Typically, this is an indication of a dog fence wire break. However, before you start digging up hundreds of feet of wire, perform a short loop test. Take a short piece of wire and strip the ends and put them into the transmitter. If the beeping stops, then your problem is further down the line. If you have a surge protector, remove the loop side wires and wire them directly to the transmitter. If the beeping stops, replace your surge protector. If the beeping continues, you can have a Pro come out to locate and make the repair. If you'd like to repair the break yourself, you can purchase a wire break locator. Just follow the directions for use.
Chances are you have a partial or corroded splice in the ground. The best advice is to go to those areas that may be affected and re-splice. Recheck your transmitter each time until you get the right one.
If you know how to use an electrical meter, performing an OHM test or resistance test will help you establish the right splice. Most dog fences are under 20 OHM's of resistance. Once you start getting higher than 50 OHM's, your fence cannot push the signal through that bad splice and begins to alarm a wire break.
When you re-splice, there is really only one way to splice your dog fence. You must use underground, waterproof, grease filled tubes with wire nuts. These are meant for this. Also, splice in a short piece of wire.
You cannot properly splice the two ends that are in the ground without some slack. As soon as you have a freeze and thaw in the ground, or a ground shift, your splice will eventually come undone.
You probably got into this situation by either using wire nuts with electrical tape, butt splices with electrical tape, shrink tube, crimp connectors, duct tape, etc. THEY ALL FAIL at some point with corrosion. A wire break locator may not help you locate a corroded splice.
If all this is a little overwhelming, call a Pro with all the right equipment to locate and repair. Sometimes it's not worth pulling out your hair; not to mention all the wire to rebury and the time you'll invest searching. Plus, your Pro may have other suggestions.
If after you've done everything above and your dog's receiver collar is still not functioning, it may be time to replace it. Receiver collars get beat up and take the most abuse. Just imagine what all your dog goes through in a day. So it is possible that it just needs to be replaced.
If you need a replacement receiver, or an upgraded replacement receiver, we might be able to help. You can visit our online store or feel free to call or text anytime to:
The Dog Fence Guy!®️