Wired or Wireless?
We all know the scenario. Your invisible fence system starts malfunctioning and you know exactly what’s wrong – another wire break. It’s the fourth time in a year, and you’re fed up. That’s when the dealer suggests that wired systems are unreliable, and you’d be better going with a new GPS driven wireless fence. After all, if wires are bad, then wireless must be good. You’ll save money on the maintenance calls and you can move the boundaries any time you want. If you want to avoid wire breaks, the only solution is to get rid of the wires. Right?
The Truth about GPS Pet Fencing
Here are a few truths about GPS fencing as well as a practical solution to your wire break problem.
- GPS is a relatively new technology in the pet fencing world. Like all new technology, it’s best to let someone else work out the problems with it before you buy in. Right now, GPS pet fences are accurate to “within 4-5 feet”. This is fine if you’re playing golf, where the consequences of a 4-foot error put you in the rough rather than the fairway, but if this means Rover ends up in the road rather than the front yard, 4 feet is unacceptable. The advantage of copper wire is simple; the wire never moves.
- GPS must be programmed. Do you know your longitude and latitude coordinates for every point of your boundary? Of course not. Remember those wire break maintenance calls? You can replace them with re-programming calls.
- GPS can drop. We’ve all been in the car when our directions quit on us. GPS can and will drop out on you. Much of the signal accuracy depends on a large number of satellite connections. Copper wire doesn’t.
- GPS can be blocked. Satellites need a clear line to the receiver. Large trees and other items can impede the signal, causing your fence to malfunction. When you’re watching your favorite show on TV and your satellite signal drops, it’s irritating. When your pet’s safety is at stake, 99% isn’t good enough.
- GPS collars require frequent charging. Because GPS collars constantly track satellites, they require a lot of power. The collars take a long time to charge, so if your dog is outside for long periods of time, you’ll need a second collar to avoid gaps in coverage.
Anatomy of a Wire Break
Now, let’s understand why your wires break and how to keep them from breaking. There are a few different causes of a wire break, but only one real reason. Your wires break because your many dealers make about 30-40% of their revenue from fixing their own wires. The truth is, the dealer needs to be at your house 4-5 times per year to make money. In fact, many dealers are promised a 30-40% revenue stream from wire breaks as an incentive to sign them up for a franchise. The easiest way to do this is to install light gauge wire only an inch or 2 below the ground. This way, every weed whacker, every shovel, and every kid with a stick is a potential revenue stream for the dealer.
The best way to fight wire breaks is to install heavier gauge wire deeper into the ground. This keeps the wire safe, the pets safe, and the customers happy. This is the model which we use at Canine Safety Systems. We use 12 gauge wire in all our installations. We bury our wire deeper into the ground to avoid accidental breaks. We can even bury wire over 18 inches deep where necessary. While 36% of our revenue is repairing wire breaks, only 4-5% are our own wires. Quite simply, our wires almost never break.
GPS may someday be a great pet fence system, but as of now, it’s just not there yet. Strong, solid, copper wire is still the best way to keep your pets safe. There is no substitute for heavy gauge wire buried deep enough to avoid problems. The next time your wire breaks, give us a call and let us put an end to it.