Troubleshooting PetSafe Radio Fence

By Mary Lougee

Troubleshooting your PetSafe radio fence includes testing each of its components, including the collar, the boundary width, the transmitter, the underground wires and other electrical fixtures that can cause interference with your system.

Receiver Collar

If your receiver collar is not beeping or correcting your dog, remove the collar, open the battery compartment in the collar and make certain the battery is installed correctly. Hold the test light contacts on the collar, and walk toward the boundary wire.

If the test light illuminates and the collar beeps, adjust the collar on your dog's neck so the contact points are touching his skin. You should be able to place one finger between the collar contacts and your dog's skin, but the prongs should make good contact. If your dog has long or thick hair, trim slightly.

If the collar activates activate only when you're holding it essentially directly above the boundary wire, it needs replacement batteries.

Boundary Wire

If the boundary wire under your turf breaks and possibly if it just corrodes, it will not transmit a signal to the collar. If you're fortunate enough to discover where the break is, strip the insulation about 3/8 inch from each of the two loose ends of the break or the corroded copper. Twist the two pieces together and screw a wire nut on the twisted wire. Tie an overhand knot in the wire about 3 inches from the wire nut and insert it into one of the splice capsules that comes in your PetSafe fencing kit. Snap the splice capsule shut and rebury the repaired wire in the ground.

Likely, you won't find the break if it's underground. Make sure your boundary wire's compromised by performing a short loop test: Disconnect both ends of the boundary wire from the transmitter. Cut about 10 feet of excess boundary wire and connect each end to the transmitter. Spread the wire out in a circle and set the width control to 10 and the control switch to B.

If the loop indicator light does not light up, the transmitter is not functioning correctly. If the light is on, remove one end of the wire. The loop alarm should sound; if it doesn't, the transmitter needs replacing; if it does, reattach the end of the wire. Test the collar and hold it about a foot from the wire. It should beep, and the test light should flash. If they do not, replace the battery in the collar. If the collar beeps and the transmitter is working, the problem is a break in the boundary line that needs splicing.

Boundary Width

Adjust the boundary width on the transmitter if the collar has to be ineffectively close before it activates or if it is giving correction to your pooch while in your home. Turn the boundary width control knob on the transmitter clockwise to increase the distance that the collar activates from the boundary wire. Turn the knob counterclockwise to decrease the distance of activation if it is correcting your pet inside the home.

The signal can transmit through the walls of a house -- it's possible that the boundary wire may be too close to your home or that a fixture inside or outside the house is causing interference.

Check the wires from the invisible fence's perimeter to the transmitter to make certain they are properly twisted so that they do not emit a signal where they are paired. Twisting the boundary wire 10 to 12 times per foot cancels the signal; your dog can cross these twisted wires while wearing the collar.

Fence Transmitter

If none of the fence transmitter's indicator lights are on, make certain the power adapter is plugged into an electrical outlet snugly. Try the plug in another outlet nearby. If the lights are off and the loop alarm is sounding, check both ends of the boundary wire that connect to the transmitter to ensure a half-inch of the insulation is stripped and the copper wire underneath is attached firmly to the transmitter.

Inconsistent Signal

Signals between the transmitter and collar can be inconsistent if the transmitter is 3 feet or closer to big metal objects or appliances. Boundary wire turns should be gradual, not at sharp angles. In-ground wire should not be within 5 feet of satellite dishes, antenna cables, television cables, telephone wires or electrical wires. It should not run parallel to any other wiring.