If you have a dog and don’t want to invest in a costly fence to keep it safe, the next best thing you can do is install an invisible fence to prevent your dog from getting out. But, if something happens and your dog starts getting out, you have to know how to find a break in an invisible fence.
Invisible fences have a lot of advantages. They’re less expensive and easier to install than physical fences. They also offer more flexibility and don’t obstruct your view. Furthermore, invisible fences don’t require you to open and close gates. Most importantly, they prevent your dog from escaping!
With all their positives, invisible fences still aren’t indestructible. This article will explain how they work and how to find a break in an invisible fence.
How Invisible Fences Work
To understand how to find a break in an invisible fence, it’s essential to know how they function.
Invisible fences consist of a system of electrical wires that form a boundary around the area you wish to enclose. Your dog’s collar has a battery-operated “corrector” attached to it that communicates with these wires. If your dog approaches the boundary, the corrector produces a warning sound or shock to startle your pup into turning away.
The correction device responds with varying intensity according to the owner’s selection. Don’t worry about its effect on your dog. The collar doesn’t cause any harm. Typically, programmable correctors begin with a gentle vibration and progress to a very mild shock.
At its highest intensity, it feels no worse than your doorknob zapping you after you walk across your carpet barefoot. It’s more surprising than painful. Electric fences encourage wandering dogs to return to where they belong so they won’t end up lost or in danger.
Learn How To Find A Break In An Invisible Fence
When you’re trying to find broken dog fence wire, the best thing to do is see if you can spot it with your eyes first. If not, you can use more sophisticated methods to find breaks in an electric fence. We’ll start with the most straightforward methods and go from there.
Identifying Uncovered Ground Wires
Context clues can help you pinpoint the broken wire’s location. For example, you might find severed wiring while mowing the lawn, weed-whacking, or gardening. Also, look for vehicle tracks, fallen brush, and burrowing animal holes, as they may be signs of problems with your invisible fence’s wiring.
To do a more in-depth visual check, start at the transmitter, where you first see the wire above ground. Walk along the wire, checking to see if the dog fence wire has tension or appears loose. Look around your property for places where it may have been twisted or chopped.
You should also scope out areas with heavy foot traffic, like pathways, driveways, and sidewalks. You are most likely to find a broken wire in these places.
Get an electrician out to fix the break as soon as you find it. Alternatively, you can repair it yourself, provided you have experience working with small electrical components. However, be warned that mistakes may cause further damage, void warranties, or cause injury.
Scan for a Break Using Radio Signals
You probably won’t find the ground wire or break just by looking if it’s buried underground or the break is internal. That’s where underground wire locators can help.
Choose a wire locator that is suitable for your invisible fence brand. The best way to know which wire will work with your invisible fence is to check its user manual or do an online search. A wire locator will typically cost between $30 and $70. That might sound expensive, but it costs less than hiring an electrician to fix the problem or replacing the entire fence system. You can also use an AM radio to make a temporary wire finder.
Before starting, make sure that your invisible fence is up and running. Both devices use radio signals to detect interference with electrical current, so you need power to the fence to locate the ground wire.
Use the Wire Locator According to the Instructions
If you’ve decided to try using an AM radio, turn it on and adjust the receiver’s frequency so that it corresponds to the frequency of your fence’s transmitter. That’s usually between 530 and 700 kHz. If you don’t know its frequency, search AM stations until you hear a fast-paced clicking or beeping sound – that’s probably the station your invisible fence is using.
Walk the Perimeter
While walking the perimeter of your fence, wave the device over the general area of the ground wires as you do so. Listen carefully to the device. If you’re using a wire locator, it will stop beeping when it passes over a break. The static should disappear for a short period if you’re using a homemade detector.
Reconnect the broken wire or have an electrician repair it for you.
Use Extra Wire and the Short Looping Technique
If you have some electrical knowledge and don’t want to use a radio signal device to find breaks in your invisible fence, you can also use an extra wire and a short loop to find a break in a dog fence wire.
1. Do a Physical Inspection
Walk along the wire path, looking for signs that it’s damaged, out of place, or uprooted by tree roots.
2. Short the Loop
To test the cable between the transmitter and the property line, short the loop at the transmitter. First, track the cables the other way. Then shorten both ends so the signal doesn’t travel underground, shorting the loop and sending it back to the transmitter. If it stops beeping, the problem is underground, not between the transmitter and the boundary.
3. Check Underground Sections
Next, use the wire bridge to short underground areas of wire. Run a piece of extra wire over an underground section of wire. Carefully pull out both ends of the underground wire. Connect the above-ground wire to both ends of the underground wire to create a bypass. Your transmitter will stop beeping if this happens. Install thicker wires in case this happens again.
Check Your Transmitter
Last but not least, a malfunctioning transmitter may be the cause. The transmitter may have been damaged by an electrical surge or by lightning. The only way to fix this problem is to purchase another transmitter. When purchasing a new transmitter, consider buying battery backup and surge protection.
Battery backup can help if you lose power, and surge protection will your system safe from damage caused by power surges from lightning strikes.
Joining Your Invisible Fence’s Broken Wires
If you want to try joining broken wire in your invisible dog fence yourself, follow these steps:
- Reveal the copper core of the wire by removing about half an inch of the wire coat.
- Use a butterfly twist to twist the two ends together.
- Tie a knot to close the twist.
- Wrap the wires with masking tape for additional protection.
- To create more slack, fold it over a few more times.
- Leave extra slack in your home in case another wire breaks.
- Put your wire inside a PVC pipe to protect it from lawn trimmers.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can fix a broken invisible dog fence by joining the wires yourself or calling a professional to help you.
If you’ve misplaced your invisible fence collar, make sure to look in all of your dog’s favorite places. You may have also taken it off them for a bath or bedtime. You can always buy a replacement collar if you can’t find it.
A GPS tracker may be an option depending on the manufacturer from which you purchase your invisible fence. Be sure to check with each manufacturer if this is a feature you’re interested in.
How to Find a Break In An Invisible Fence: Hiring a Professional
Now that we’ve covered everything you need to know about how to find a break in an invisible fence, it’s time to start the search! Remember to be patient, keep your eyes open, and let technology guide you when finding a break in an invisible dog fence. If you can’t find it using your eyes and don’t feel comfortable employing one of the other more technical methods, you can always call a professional to help you.
Once you’ve found the breaks in your invisible fence, make sure to contact someone to repair them so your dog doesn’t get away again.
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Check out this video to learn more! “Invisible Fence 101”
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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