Charlie Brown’s pup has a mind of his own, so does Oliver!

We were working in the backyard one beautiful Saturday afternoon, when suddenly our calm day turned tumultuous.  You see, I was cooking in the kitchen when the commotion began.  Teddy came running in hollering, “Oliver has escaped and Michael’s gone after him!”

Oh, boy, was that an understatement.

I ran outside to find Oliver had pushed under the chain-link fence.  He did not dig out, just pushed up enough to see a quick escape hatch and away he went after the neighbor’s crafty little cat.   We searched the neighborhood about an hour trying to locate the dog and his boy, Michael, our eleven year- old son.

I was out running around like a crazy woman enlisting neighbor kids to help in the search.

We ran here and yonder looking, calling, whistling, clapping, anything we could think of to draw out that little hard-headed pup.

Finally, I returned home hoping to find my son and Oliver back home.  Sure enough, Oliver was banished to his crate while Michael went back out to find his mom!

We all made it back safe and sound.  Well, safe anyway.

I was a bit ragged and sweaty.  On the bright side, I met some neighbors I hadn’t before the escapade and got in some exercise I badly needed.  That aside, we knew it would not be the last time Oliver would venture out on his own and we’d need to contain him someway other than a chain-link fence.

I did some searching and shopping and found a few options.

After reading the pros and cons of many, we settled on the PetSafe Wireless Pet Containment System.   The system uses radio waves from a transmitter to a receiver in the dog’s collar.  No wire to bury.  The radio waves reach up to a 90’ radius.  That is about a ½ acre of coverage in a circular shape.  Our yard is 90 across the front and 130 deep or about ¼ acre.  If you need the math on that to figure your acreage, multiply length x width in feet to get the square feet in your yard.  Then divide the square feet by 43560, which is the square feet in an acre.

Example:  90’ x 130’ = 11700 sq ft

11700/43560 = .27 acre or approximately ¼ acre

Setup is flexible.

Our lot is super flat so we get full coverage of the radio waves. This is important if you have rolling hills in your yard, there may be patchy spots of no signal.

Since our family likes to have a little dog-free space on our patio and garden, I set up our system on one side of our house in the kitchen.  This gives Oliver about 2/3 of our yard to roam free.

The unit has a low and high setting for distance of boundary with extra boundary control in five feet increments, as well as, a variable strength setting for the static correction on the collar.  In case you are wondering, static correction is the little shock administered to the dog once he explores beyond his predetermined boundaries.  The receiver in the collar alarms with a ringing sound to alert the pet he is approaching his boundary line.  He has about 2 to 3 feet of area where the alert sounds prior to his receiving the static shock.  The settings imply it is a mild to intense shock, but let me tell you even the mild setting will get one’s attention.  Yes, I got shocked and threw it down very quickly! If you are squeamish about shocking your dearly loved pooch, there is an alarm only setting on the receiver.  No shock!  Did I mention that Oliver is stubborn?  Well, the “little shock” I got encouraged me to try the setting for just alarm.  Once Oliver realized he could push the limits of the alarm and not receive the static correction, he ignored the alarm

Adjusting the correction is easy.

The instructions show intensity of static correction from Alarm Only as 1, Timid as 2, Average as 3 and High Energy as 4.  These refer to the dog’s temperament.  I would class Oliver as a 3 given these guidelines.  However, 3 was too much and 1 was too little.  So, I set his correction to 2, which is just right!  It gets his attention without nailing him to the wall.  On the unit, I set the switch on High for distance of boundary and 4 on the incremental setting.  The incremental setting is from 1 to 8 and has a five feet variance.  Don’t worry about that too much because the instructions explain it well.  Just know that it can cover an area from 5’ radius to 90’ radius.  I had my system setup in about 30 minutes by myself.

It is portable so you can take it on vacation.  We take dogs on vacation, right?

The instructions encourage the owner to train for approximately seven days with flags to mark the dog’s new boundaries.  Oliver is a smart dog apparently.  It only took him one day to find all his boundary lines and build a healthy respect for them!

He can come and go through his doggie door again without my fear of him escaping and being lost or worse.

He is micro-chipped and has a collar with identification, but oncoming cars don’t take time to look at all that before they accidentally hit poor wild dogs!  That’s what I tell him to try to make him stay in his yard, but he has a mind of his own and his nose often gets him into trouble.

So, the yard is covered with the Petsafe Wireless Pet Containment System.  Now, what to do with him on outings and when company comes to call.  I am working on Don Sullivan’s Perfect Dog videos and training so Oliver can be free to go leash-less.  Stay tuned.

Oh, one more thing….the batteries in the collar need to be replaced about monthly.  After reading all the reviews, pros and cons, I decided to go with the PetSafe brand replacements. The generic batteries are cheaper, but from what I can tell, the PetSafe ones seem to work longer. Check ’em out and let me know what you think.

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