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Product Review: PetSafe In-Ground Fences

Overall Rating:   

Pros: Options for dogs of every size and temperament

Cons: Includes low-quality wire, so you'll need to purchase high-quality wire separately

When it comes to DIY dog fences, PetSafe is by far the most popular and best-known product line. It's also, in my opinion, the best product line available in the DIY dog fence market.

Except for the standard PetSafe In-Ground Radio Fence (a product I do not recommend), every other product in the PetSafe line includes a user-adjustable receiver with five training levels. That's important because it means you can use PetSafe products with the low-stress training techniques I discuss on this site. Also, PetSafe offers products that are appropriate for dogs of every size and temperament, meaning you can find the best product to suit your specific needs:

  • Basic In-Ground Fence — I recommend this system for most dogs, unless they are very small, very large, or very stubborn. See details.
  • Comfort-Fit™ Deluxe Little Dog Fence — This system includes the smallest receiver PetSafe makes, so if your dog is very small, it may be a good fit for you. See details.
  • Pawz Away Outdoor Pet Barrier & Collar — If you need affordable landscaping protection, this system gets the job done without breaking the bank. See details.
  • Stubborn Dog Fence — I recommend this system for very large dogs or dogs that are particularly hard to train. See details.

The primary downside to PetSafe dog fences is that they include very thin, stranded wire that doesn't hold up well for outdoor use. That's pretty easy to remedy, though — if you want a stable, no-fuss installation, you should separately purchase 14- to 18-gauge solid-core wire from a wire specialty store. Alternatively, the SportDOG In-ground Fence (made by the same company that manufactures PetSafe products) includes upgraded wire standard in its hardware package.

Basic In-Ground Fence

Product Rating:  

The PetSafe In-Ground Fence™ is a good product for almost any dog — be it small or large, sensitive or confident.

The basic fence comes with a multi-level receiver that includes four different fence correction levels (including the tone-only training mode). While I prefer a receiver with even more levels, five can get the job done without unnecessarily stressing your dog. Also, this receiver is waterproof, which is good for dogs that like to swim. Finally, the transmitter that comes with this system powers up to 5 acres, and it includes built-in lightning protection, so you don't need to purchase a separate lightning device.

Why I recommend

Comfort-Fit Deluxe Little Dog Fence

Product Rating:  

The Comfort-Fit™ Deluxe Little Dog Fence is designed specifically for small dogs. Like the regular Deluxe In-Ground Fence, it includes a 5-level receiver, a transmitter that powers up to 25 acres, and built-in lightning protection. The only real difference is that the receiver is smaller than that of the regular Deluxe fence, and it comes on a plastic collar rather than the standard nylon collar. I personally don't like the fit of the plastic collar, so I would buy this system over the standard Deluxe fence only if your dog is particularly small.

Why I recommend

Pawz Away Outdoor Pet Barrier & Collar

Product Rating:  

The PetSafe Pawz Away Outdoor Pet Barrier offers a unique option for those homes where a full perimeter pet-fence is not needed. This system allows you to easily protect flower beds, gardens, kids play areas, garbage cans, fence gates (no more worrying about whether the kids or lawnservice left a gate open), and more. The transmitter's rock design hides advanced pet-fence technology that will create either a wireless or wired fence solution. The unit has a range that is appropriate for small to medium sized areas. If more coverage is required, additional transmitters can be purchased to customize the fence solution to your specific needs. Also,with the purchase of additional receiver collars, there is no limit to the number of pets that can be added to the Pawz Away system. I gladly recommend the Paws Away systems based on their combination of affordability and maximum flexibility -- This makes it relatively easy to solve many of your pet-related challenges.

Why I recommend

Stubborn Dog Fence

Product Rating:  

Some dogs are just plain stubborn and/or stoic — even with good fence training, they'll tolerate an electronic correction from a dog fence if it means they get to take a romp around the neighborhood. If this sounds like your dog, you may need a Stubborn Dog Fence. As with the Deluxe fence, the Stubborn Dog receiver includes five different fence correction levels (including tone-only with vibration for training), but the levels are considerably stronger than that of other PetSafe dog fences.

NOTE: I generally don't recommend starting fence training with a Stubborn Dog fence — most dogs, even large ones, do just fine on a Deluxe PetSafe fence. Instead, if you find after following a good training program that your dog just doesn't respect the correction delivered by the Deluxe UltraLight receiver, then exchange your Deluxe system for a Stubborn Dog system. You'll still be able to use the wire you've already installed in the ground, so you really don't have anything to lose with this approach. If, on the other hand, you unnecessarily use a Stubborn Dog fence, you run the risk of needlessly stressing your dog.

Why I recommend

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Invisible Fence®, PetSafe®, Guardian®, Innotek®, SportDOG®, RadioFence®, ComfortFit™, UltraLight™, Deluxe In-Ground Fence™, and Contain N Train® are trademarks of Radio Systems Corporation. PetStop®, Wire-Free®, and Perimeter are trademarks of Perimeter Technologies. DogWatch® is a registered trademark of DogWatch Inc. is not affiliated with Radio Systems Corp, Perimeter Technologies, or DogWatch Inc. and diclaims any interest in any trademarks not its own.

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