When we bought a home in New Hampshire four summers ago, investing in an invisible fence for Leo was not high on the priority list. It seemed like a splurge. There was a generous section of the yard already secured by a chain-link fence. Until this summer. The fence is gone and the yard is more open than ever thanks to a new septic system. With a change in landscape and a bold ten-year old Golden, perhaps now is the time to finally install a pet containment system?
A decade ago, back in Massachusetts, we purchased The Canine Company Invisible Fence underground wire system, complete with a collar, training sessions, and a floor disc for inside use. The market has expanded considerably over the years and now includes an array of wireless products promising the same safety and ease of use benefits of its predecessors.
The idea of plugging in a transmitting tower, determining the perimeter, and training the dog with an included collar – all at a third of the cost plus no disruption to our yard -sounded heavenly. Would this really be effective? There are many factors a potential owner should consider before purchasing a wireless system. We learned the hard way, and have become experts on the subject with the help of customer service representatives at PetSafe.
Did you know that if your neighbors also have a wireless unit that they can’t overlap your perimeter or the play area doubles? A mere 10 foot overlap is all it takes to trick the system. Some may say this is a perk; however, if one of the goals is to keep your pet out of the 85-year old neighbor’s yard, this is not optimal.
Do you have any hills or slopes in your yard? The mound of earth that creates the hill or slope can wreak havoc on the consistency of the signals being transmitted. What results is a sporadic signal that seems to be weaker in nature. Raising the transmitting tower may help the situation, but isn’t a guaranteed solution to the problem. This is bad news for the end of our driveway which leads out to the main road.
How about metal roofs? Does your home have one? Ours does due to the heavy snowfall during the winter season. This could be a factor in signal accuracy and strength, but may not be, so it’s hard to put stock in this fact in the decision making process.
Finally, within the last year or so, PetSafe has learned that the Smart Meters on people’s homes run on the same frequency as the wireless Stay and Play units. This will compromise the effectiveness of any PetSafe wireless product. I’m happy to say that we do not have a Smart Meter, so we can rule this factor out when troubleshooting.
All of these factors and more have created doubt in our minds that when we open a door with Leo in tow, or by force, he will remain safe if he leaves the property lines. Not all properties are suitable for wireless pet containment systems. It is looking more likely that ours may be one of the unfortunate outliers.
The Invisible Fence Company is scheduled to visit next Monday for a free estimate on a bare bones underground wire system. I’m beginning to think this may be the only way to obtain peace of mind in New Hampshire with Leo.