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Invisible dog fences help keep your favorite furry friend safe and contained. These devices come in different types and styles to fit the varying needs of dogs and pet owners. From upscale models that use GPS to collars with wireless settings, these devices create safe boundaries and have adjustable settings to fit different breeds and personalities.
To help you choose the right in-ground fence system for your pup, we tested and researched some of the most popular invisible fences from brands like PetSafe, Sportdog, and Halo. These collars range from those designed for large properties to those that can teach your dog to stay away from the kitchen garbage. Keep reading to get our take on the best invisible dog fences.
How We Picked the Best Invisible Dog Fences
We put careful consideration into the fences that made our list. We considered the square footage they covered, correction methods used, collar quality, battery life, and fencing quality. Our list includes collars that are best used outdoors along with those that can work indoors or outdoors. We’ve also included models that can adapt to your surroundings for use away from home.
Correction methods can get controversial. We looked for collars that offered non-punishment correction, and those with higher-powered correction for stubborn or large, furry dogs. However, every invisible fence on our list has safety features to prevent dogs from getting buzzed or shocked continuously or by accident.
Dogs aren’t easy on collars, so collar quality played a role in the final decisions. We looked for collars that should last at least one year and offer adjustability to fit a variety of breeds. The battery life factored into the final decision, too. Finally, if the fence included wiring, we considered the quality and expandability of the system, including how much wire you can splice together to get more coverage area.
Best Invisible Dog Fences: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: PetSafe Stubborn Dog In-Ground Pet Fence
- Collar Size: Fits necks 6–28 inches
- Coverage Area: 1/3 acre, with the option to expand to 25 acres
- Collar Material: Nylon
- Fits a variety of sizes and breeds of dogs
- Compatible with wire from other systems
- Can buy collars separate from the system for multiple dogs
- Might be too bulky for smaller dogs
The PetSafe Stubborn Dog In-Ground Pet Fence offers excellent correction and warning options for setting safe boundaries. If you have a stubborn dog, this model has a high correction level, but you never need to go there if your dog responds to the lower levels. (If your dog isn’t stubborn, check out the PetSafe Classic Fence, which has many of the same features and functionality.) The collar includes tone and vibration-only features if you don’t want to use one of the four corrective “static” settings at all.
A big positive of this invisible fence system is the compatibility among PetSafe’s different systems. The Stubborn Dog collar and the Classic collar are both compatible with the PetSafe wire, so you can buy a collar that works for your dog’s size and personality and use one wire. While training takes consistency on the owner’s part—as with all collars—the PetSafe training should go quickly, starting with flags to mark the fence line. Start with the lowest settings until you find the one that works for your dog.
Another highlight is the collar’s adjustable fit, which can fit necks from 6 to 26 inches in circumference. You can get a snug, comfortable fit for a wide range of breeds. Finally, the system comes with enough wire to contain 1/3 of an acre and can expand with extra wire from Pet Safe to up to 25 acres. The only issue we found was that the collar can be a bit bulky for smaller breeds, even though it claims it can fit dogs as small as 8 pounds.
Best with GPS: Halo Collar 3
- Collar Size: Small fits necks 11 to 15 inches, medium/large fits necks 15 to 30.5 inches
- Coverage Area: Expandable as needed
- Collar Material: Rubber
- Can set up to 25 fences and easily adjust them as needed
- 15 static levels, multiple voice commands, six vibration patterns, and praise/training features
- Useful training features for indoor and outdoor dogs
- Robust set of training videos
- Expensive, and requires a monthly subscription
- Requires charging every 24 hours
- Heavy and bulky
I tested the Halo 3 Collar for myself with my black lab, Maggie. I’ve used in-ground invisible fences before, and if you’ve got the funds and a large property, the Halo 3 is worth considering. It takes some time to set up, and as the owner, you get to go through a series of training videos before your dog ever puts on the collar.
You can create up to 25 GPS fences and adjust the warning, boundary, and alarm settings based on your dog. For example, I skipped the static settings, though I tested them (on myself, ouch!), and stuck to vibration and sounds for warnings and alarms. You can also pick the vibration pattern to find one that works best for your dog.
Because my dog is older and hard of hearing, I bumped up the beeping volume to 13 (out of 15). You can also use this collar as a training tool by training your dog to come back to a whistle or voice commands pre-recorded into the collar. If they get too far away, you can activate the return sound. However, for it to work, you have to do the training.
I live on a large property and set fences around my house and a few other areas. You can easily adjust the fence boundaries at any time. But, again, it all comes back to training. It takes a lot of time and effort, but if you’re willing, it works.
I liked that I could get in the app and see where Maggie was on our property at any time. The collar collects data, and you can see your dog’s activity level and their most frequent hangouts. However, the collar has to be able to get some kind of signal, either from WiFi, Bluetooth, or cellular. I live remotely enough that there were times when Maggie got out of range. I couldn’t activate a return signal because the collar couldn’t connect to my phone.
You also have the option to use a beacon, which is a GPS tag that you can place in areas you want your dog to avoid, like the kitchen garbage. The tag activates warning signals like a fence. For folks who have a large property and take their dog on the road, I’m not sure you can do much better than the Halo.
One note: It’s expensive and requires a monthly subscription on top of that. If you don’t think you’ll use all of the features, you can get something without all of the high-end features for far less.
Best Wireless: Pet Stop EcoLite Plus with Link
- Collar Size: NA
- Coverage Area: NA but highly expandable with extra transmitters
- Collar Material: Nylon
- Link app offers remote training, real-time tracking, multiple pet tracking
- Safety Stop feature stops correction after 20 seconds
- 30 correction levels for the ultimate in customization
- May be difficult to find a dealer
The Pet Stop EcoLite Plus with Link offers incredible battery life with a robust set of features. The lightweight, built-in rechargeable battery pack is estimated to last 25 years. While you’ll charge it more often than that, you shouldn’t need to replace the battery within your dog’s lifetime.
This model also comes with the Link app, where you can customize correction settings and do more than keep your dog in your yard. It includes remote correction to put a stop to behaviors like barking or jumping. The fence has extra settings like Yard Link so you can connect with a neighbor (who has the same wireless fence), letting dogs play together.
One of our favorite features is the 30 correction levels. That kind of customization will make sure your dog stays safe but doesn’t get over- or under-corrected. It boasts a Stopper feature that only corrects for an additional 20 seconds if your dog starts running through boundaries, which prevents your dog from continuous shock should they get free. On the downside, this collar can’t be found just everywhere. You have to search through the company site for dealers near you.
Best Coverage: Sportdog Rechargeable In-Ground Fence System
- Collar Size: Fits dogs 8 pounds or larger
- Coverage Area: Up to 100 acres
- Collar Material: Rubber
- Kit covers 1-1/3 acre with the option to extend up to 100 acres
- Quick collar charging and long one to two months of battery life
- Seven levels of static to customize correction
Sportdog—the brand behind one of our experts’ favorite dog training collars—also makes an invisible in-ground fence system that offers expansive coverage for large properties. The original kit can cover up to 1-1/3 acres and can extend to cover 100 square acres with additional wire and flags. Of course, covering that much area takes dedication and time, but if you want your dog to enjoy the space you have, this is the fence for you.
This system features seven levels of static, letting you adjust to your dog’s responsiveness. The levels of adjustability make it an effective option for timid and bold dogs alike. And if you’ve got more than one pup to contain, you can purchase a system for multiple dogs. The collar and receiver are waterproof into up to 25 feet of water for those dogs who can’t stay out of every puddle and pond. While the collar isn’t as high quality or durable as we’d like, you can always put the receiver on a different collar—making this one of the more versatile invisible dog fences.
Best Multi-Dog System: Extreme Dog Pro Grade 5-Dog Fence System
- Collar Size: NA
- Coverage Area: Up to 25 acres
- Collar Material: Nylon
- Option to buy kits for up to five dogs
- Kit includes everything needed to splice wire to extend the system
- Seven levels of correction for better customization
- Plastic on the receiver can crack
If you’ve got a pack of pups around, the Extreme Dog Pro Fence System comes in kits for up to five dogs. This model can also extend to include up to 25 acres within the coverage area. It has some unique features that enhance the overall functionality and safety of the collar and fence, such as a wire check, frequency encoding, and a battery check every two hours.
You also get the option of different wire gauges based on how large of an area you need to include. This collar is also waterproof in water up to 10 feet deep. However, there is a downside. The plastic casing on the receiver (located on the collar) can crack over time, so you may need to replace it a few times over its lifespan.
Best Budget: Pawious GPS Dog Fence
- Collar Size: Fits necks 9–23 inches
- Coverage Area: Adjustable
- Collar Material: NA
- Six levels of tones, vibration, or shock with pauses and enhanced safety features
- Includes AI that recognizes scenes to reduce false alarms
- IPX7 waterproofing offers a solution for water-loving dogs
- Satellite acquisition can be too slow in small yards
- Takes time and training for the dog to respond in situations away from home
- Only designed for medium to large dogs
If you don’t want to bury a wire around your home, a wireless model like the Pawious GPS Dog Fence is a viable solution. Plus, this model costs a fraction of many of the in-ground systems. This model uses satellites and GPS to track the dog.
You don’t have to set specific boundaries that the dog needs to remember. Rather, you train the dog to respond to the specific collar signals, and then you can set the radius for the collar based on our needs. It offers a minimum radius of 33 yards and a maximum radius of 1000 yards.
This type of invisible fence is very portable—you can take it to the beach, camping, or on vacation to keep your dog in a safe area. All invisible fences require time and training, but a wireless one requires extensive training so that the dog responds appropriately amid distractions in unfamiliar locations. Keep in mind that some dogs may not respond as well away from home, even though that’s an option with the collar design.
What to Consider When Choosing an Invisible Dog Fence
Your biggest consideration is the type of invisible fence you want. You’ll need to choose between:
- Buried wire (also known as in-ground)
Buried wire fences are labor-intensive to install, and if the wire breaks, you might have to dig it up to find the problem. I had this issue with an invisible fence, and we ended up digging up our yard several times to find the short. Not fun. These fences tend to be more affordable, and they rely on electricity rather than technology or satellites, which can be unpredictable.
Wireless fences establish a circular fence area of varying sizes. The transmitter stays at the center, but you can use multiple transmitters for larger properties. These models can cover different types of terrain, including water. However, they won’t work if there’s a power outage.
GPS fences are pricey, and the collars might be too heavy for smaller dogs. However, these fences give you mobility and amazing tracking features. You can establish boundaries anywhere, while hunting or fishing or hanging out at the beach or at the park. You can also set multiple fences in any shape with these collars. This type requires extensive training, so you have to be consistent to make them work.
Training and Features
Invisible fences require training for you and your dog. It’s a process that can take several days or even weeks. Some dogs may also require reminder training. Models with extensive features may require extensive training for you, too, to make sure you use the collar correctly. However, with consistency and effort, training can give your dog more freedom without compromising safety.
Q. Do invisible fences work for big dogs?
Yes, invisible fences can work for big dogs. Measure the circumference of your dog’s neck to make sure the collar will fit properly. Models with more than one node size are also a good option for larger dogs, especially long hair breeds. A fence that includes multiple correction levels can also make sure the collar gets a larger determined dog’s attention.
Q. Are invisible fences bad for dogs?
Invisible fences aren’t bad for dogs as long as the dog is trained properly. There is potential for the dog to get caught in the correction area, where the collar continuously corrects. However, most collars have features to prevent this from happening by shutting down after a set period of correction time. Without proper training, your dog may end up confused and uncomfortable. So don’t get an invisible fence unless you’re ready to commit to training and potentially re-training your dog.
Q. How does an invisible fence work?
An invisible fence creates invisible boundaries, either underground, wirelessly, or by GPS. The dog wears a collar with a receiver that goes off if the dog gets too close to the established boundary. At first, the signal might be a beep or vibration as a warning. If they cross the boundary, the signal intensifies and may include an electrical shock as a correction. Owners must train the dog to recognize the warnings and alarms for an invisible fence to work.
Best Invisible Dog Fences: Final Thoughts
The best invisible dog fences are an effective way to keep your dog contained and safe. Designs and cost vary, so you’ll need to decide the features you need and be prepared to put in the training time. While we recommend any of the fence systems on this list, we like the PetSafe invisible fence the best thanks to its versatility and comfortable adjustable collar.
Why Trust Us
For more than 125 years, Field & Stream has been providing readers with honest and authentic coverage of outdoor gear. Our writers and editors eat, sleep, and breathe the outdoors, and that passion comes through in our product reviews. You can count on F&S to keep you up to date on the best new gear. And when we write about a product—whether it’s a bass lure or a backpack—we cover the good and the bad, so you know exactly what to expect before you decide to make a purchase.