Electric Dog Fence

Common Problems When Testing Electric Fences: Troubleshooting Electric Fencing


Insufficient grounding is the main cause of electric fence issues. Why? An electrical circuit makes up an electric fence. From the charger, the electrical current passes through the animal, along the fence line, into the ground system, and back to the charger. The electrical current is lowered and the animal receives a softer shock if the ground system is insufficient.


  • To prevent interference, the ground system needs to be at least 33′ (10 m) away from any telephone or electric ground systems.
  • Compared to dry soil, moist soil conducts electricity far better. Locate the ground system in a marshy location if at all possible. To keep the soil moist during dry weather, irrigate the area surrounding the ground system.
  • Check to see if there are enough ground rods. See the user manual for your charger for suggestions. Use at least three ground rods if you’re unsure. If the conditions of your soil are not optimum, use more ground rods.

Testing your ground system

To make sure you are getting the most out of your underground electric fence, test your ground system on a regular basis.

  1. Switch off the charger.
  2. Lay multiple steel rods (or lengths of pipe) up against the fence to short circuit it at least 330′ (100 m) away from the charger. It could be necessary to drive the rods up to 12″ (30 cm) into the ground in dry or sandy soils.
  3. Switch the charger on.
  4. Check the voltage of the fence with a digital voltmeter. It should read no more than 2 kV. Add more ground rods if necessary.
  5. To check the ground system, test the voltage on the final ground rod after putting the voltmeter’s ground probe all the way into the earth. There should be no more than 0.3 kV displayed on the voltmeter. In the event that the reading exceeds this threshold, your ground system is inadequate. Increase the number of ground rods or relocate your ground system.


When electrical electricity escapes the fence and touches the ground, faults result. Grass, weeds, or overhanging branches brushing against the electric fence are frequently the source of this. When the electric fence wire comes into contact with the fence post due to a broken insulator, a malfunction may occur. With one of the methods below, check your fence on a regular basis.

Checking your fence

The easiest and most precise way to discover a fence defect is to use a fault finder. Take readings at regular intervals as you move around the fence, starting at the leadout wire. An unusually high reading indicates a flaw. Similar to how water rushes toward a hole in a ruptured hose, electrical current flows in the direction of a fault. A fault exists between the two points if there is an abrupt shift in current between them.

Animal training

One way to teach animals to respect electric fencing is to set up a small holding paddock that is well-fenced. Using a Patriot charger and Politape, divide the holding paddock. Bring the untrained animals into the paddock. The animals will pick up on avoiding the electric fence barrier very soon.

Selecting a charger for an electric fence

Check that the charger for your electric fence satisfies its specifications by consulting your Patriot installation handbook. The style of fence, the quantity of fence wires, the amount of vegetation growing around the fence, and the climate will all affect this. Recall that you must ensure your charger has sufficient power if you decide to add to or divide your fence in order to increase its length. Make sure to increase the number of ground rods in the ground system if you use a more powerful charger.

Combining different metals

Refrain from combining various metals in your electric fence. Electrolysis happens when an electric current flows through the different metals in a moist environment. For instance, there will be issues if aluminum leadout wire and stainless steel ground rods are used. It won’t take long for the aluminum to dissolve. To enhance ventilation and lessen electrolysis, maintain the wire joints above the ground if at all possible. To keep moisture out of the joint area, seal the wire joints with tar, epoxy, or thick paint. By using the same metals throughout your electric fence, you may completely prevent electrolysis issues.