Keeping dogs safe is the highest priority for every dog owner. If you’re a new pet owner and unsure where to start, there are a couple of options to consider. First, you can install a physical fence or wall in your yard or you can opt for one of the best wireless dog fences on the market. These are invisible, but offer replete protection. In 2023, our top choice for most dog owners is the PetSafe Wireless Pet Fence Pet Containment System, which spans up to a half-acre of outdoor space and includes a collar battery that lasts up to two months before requiring a recharge.
If you’re curious how wireless dog fences work, it’s simple. Most function by virtually connecting a special wearable collar to a central transmitter, which designates an invisible boundary around your yard. When your dog gets close to the edge of said boundary, the collar will beep loudly or vibrate. Some, but not all, will emit a gentle shock when dogs actually cross over the line. “In theory, this is an excellent option for owners that would like their dogs to have more outdoor play space but are restricted by HOA rules and cannot have a fence,” says Missy Matusicky, DVM, MPH, assistant clinical professor at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine. And it goes without saying that a wireless dog fence is a more convenient alternative to constantly walking your dog around on a leash. Ahead, we’ve curated a list of the best wireless dog fences to help keep the furriest member of your family safe and secure.
- Best Wireless Dog Fence Overall: PetSafe Wireless Pet Fence Pet Containment System
- Best Wireless Fence For Large Dogs: PetSafe Stay And Play Wireless Pet Fence For Stubborn Dogs
- Best Wireless Dog Fence On Amazon: Wiez GPS Wireless Dog Fence
- Best Portable Wireless Dog Fence: GroovyPets GPS Wireless Fence Containment System
- Best Custom Wireless Dog Fence: Halo Collar 2+ GPS Dog Collar & Wireless Virtual Fence
- Best Long Range Wireless Dog Fence: Spot On Dog Fence
Why Trust Forbes Vetted
The Forbes Vetted editors, like all consumers, dote on their pets and consider them part of the family. That’s why it’s important that wireless dog fences for backyards and outdoor spaces not only keep pets safe and secure, but are easy to install and maintain as well. To find the best wireless dog fences, we took our own questions and concerns into consideration. When we evaluate products like best wireless dog fences, we look at all the bells, whistles and functions that make these products worth the investment.
In addition to articles about how to care for our pets, we have also written, researched and in some cases, tested a slew of pet-related content. This includes input on the best automatic dog feeders and the best robot vacuums for pet hair.
We refresh this story regularly and it was last updated August 2023.
How We Chose The Best Wireless Dog Fences
To curate this list, we spoke with three different veterinarians, each of whom offered their advice on important features to look for in these types of products. We also spoke to multiple dog owners in the hopes of learning more about their personal experiences. Then, we narrowed the field with an eye toward aspects like safety, range, adjustability and overall reliability. Thousands of reviews from real owners were factored in as well, allowing us to reliably discern how these fences perform over time and with repeated use.
What To Look For In A Wireless Dog Fence
There are certainly a lot of options out there, so it can be helpful to consider a standard set of features during your wireless dog fence search. Here’s what our experts recommend looking out for:
A big perk of a wireless dog fence is, well, the lack of wiring, which can be a headache to install. But don’t be fooled: These devices still require some installation. A few models will require you to set up a radius using a centrally-based transmitter and create different “levels” to let your dog know they are approaching the border’s edge. Others use GPS for area designation, but that, too, may require some thought and even foot traffic to create the perfect fence. Just be sure to take a look at the installation required by the device you select, and set aside some time for that process.
The bottom line is that you need a fence that will last. One major perk of wireless dog fences is that you don’t need to worry about wires breaking and leaving you with gaps in coverage, and many of the accompanying collars are waterproof or at least water-resistant, helping them to stand up against the elements. They’re also typically made of sturdy nylon or vinyl to help them survive whatever your dog dishes out.
Most wireless dog fences offer a few options for adjustability. You can adjust the border of your fence through the transmitter—whether from the physical device or your phone-along with different vibrations to let your dog know when they’re nearing the border. Often, you’ll be able to adjust the shock levels to one that’s suitable for your dog’s size and temperament. Of course, the collars are typically adjustable to allow you to get a snug, safe fit on your pet.
Range is an important factor to consider in a wireless dog fence. Most will allow your dog to have ample room to room, but these fences will often run up to three-quarters of an acre, with many solidly in the half-acre range. Consider your property space and how large of an area you want to let your dog roam before investing in a fence.
Reliability is crucial when investing in a wireless dog fence. While there’s no guarantee that every fence will work perfectly, it’s important to read reviews to see if users had any significant lags in coverage. If you’re particularly concerned about your dog’s security, consider the Spot On Dog Fence. It utilizes a whopping 30 different satellites across different systems to ensure you won’t have coverage gaps.
How Do Wireless Dog Fences Work?
Wireless dog fences use a transmitter to install a border in a set area, which can be a radius around the transmitter or a fence you create using an app. “Dogs can and will respect the invisible fence as long as you train them appropriately, with a few exceptions,” says JustAnswer Veterinarian Expert Grant Little, DVM. “You can train them by setting up the wireless fence, teaching with visual cues such as flags around the yard and work on it 10 to 20 minutes daily. Over time, your dog will start to understand where that boundary is and start to respect getting close to it.” These fences also use vibrations and beeps to warn your dog when they’re getting close to the border and will deliver a shock if they reach it, explains Brian Collins, DVM, extension associate at the Cornell Richard P. Riney Canine Health Center.
Are Wireless Dog Fences Worth It?
For many, yes. “A wireless dog fence is certainly better than no fence,” Collins says. “With some, you can use a wireless dog fence to avoid swimming pools and flower beds.” In other words, these devices can potentially help you maintain the current look and feel of your yard. Wireless dog fences also tend to be less expensive than underground dog fences, which require digging up your yard.
Are Underground Dog Fences Better Than Wireless Dog Fences?
It all depends on your specific lifestyle and needs. Underground dog fences tend to cost more and they’re not portable. Wireless dog fences, meanwhile, “can travel with the dog and owner,” Matusicky says. “In theory these could be used for camping and outings.” That said, there is a downside to taking a wireless dog fence on the go: It can be confusing and frustrating for dogs. They can’t actually see where the new fence is set up, after all.