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What do I need to know about dog fence wire?

Folks who buy a dog fence that includes wire often wonder "This wire looks really thin and cheap... Do I have to use it, or can I upgrade to something sturdier?"

On the other hand, folks who buy a dog fence that doesn't include wire often wonder "What kind of wire should I buy? Can I just go pick up a roll of any old wire at my local hardware store?"

Keep reading for answers to both of these questions and more!

Do I have to use the wire that's included with my DIY dog fence?

The short answer to this question is: No. The wire that comes standard in many DIY dog fences is cheap and fragile — it's fine for indoor applications, such as speaker system installations, but it's inadequate for outdoor use because it breaks very easily. This is problematic because when the wire does break (seriously... it's not if, but when), those breaks can be extremely difficult to find.

So, what kind of wire should I use?

The best wire to use for your DIY dog fence installation is the direct-burial grade wire typically recommended for outdoor applications such as irrigation and outdoor lighting systems. You may be able to buy direct burial wire from a local hardware or irrigation store; but, if you have trouble finding it locally, consider buying this direct burial rated wire  from

In addition to purchasing wire that's direct burial grade, remember:

  • If your yard is smaller than one acre, 18-gauge wire is sufficient. If your yard is larger, use 14- or 16-gauge wire to ensure adequate signal strength.
  • Solid-core wire is preferable to stranded wire, because it's much easier to work with. If you have no other option, though, stranded wire will get the job done.

What else do I need to know about dog fence wire?

One last thing... When you install your dog fence, you'll likely want to create wire that doesn't correct your dog — for example, the wire you'll use to connect your transmitter to the outer boundary wire. In the video below, I talk more about how you can use cancelled wire in your dog fence installation and I show you two different ways to make cancelled wire quickly using tools you probably already own.

Did this article answer your questions? If not, please tell me!

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