Getting The Perfect Fit
The Importance of Collar Fit
The right collar fit is paramount to the proper functioning of your electric dog fence system. Without a perfect fit your system could fail to contain your dog or the collar could irritate your dog's neck. Some electric dog fence systems, like the PetSafe YardMax system have a useful Ready Test™ feature that confirms proper collar fit automatically after every charge cycle. In the other systems it's up to you to make sure you have the right collar fit for your dog.
The electric fence receiver collar is worn high on the dog's neck, just below the jaw, with the receiver box and contact points under the dog's head (rather than behind on the back of his neck).
The collar needs to be tight enough that 1) the contact points constantly make contact with your dog's skin and 2) the collar does not spin around. The general rule of thumb is that you ought to be able to fit one finger in between the contact points and your dog's neck and two fingers in between the collar band and your dog's neck. If the collar is too tight, your dog will be uncomfortable, too loose and the contact points won't be able to deliver the stimulation consistently.
The contact points need to be in 'contact' with the skin on your dog's neck. Some dog fence manufacturers include a set of longer contact points for use with long-haired dogs. Other manufacturers offer longer contact points separately. The longer your dog's fur, the more challenging it is to get a good fit. For some dogs, you may be able to part the hair around the contact points. For others, you may need to trim the hair around the contact points to ensure contact with the skin.
Monitoring Collar Fit
Fitting your dog's electric fence collar is an ongoing task. You should check the fit regularly to make sure that your dog is safely contained and also comfortable in his collar. Electric fence collars are completely safe when used properly but they should never be left on for long periods of time. Your dog should not wear the electric fence collar for more than 8 continuous hours. Be sure to take the collar off the dog when he isn't using it to give his neck a break.
If your dog is still young and growing, check the collar fit every time you put the collar on your dog. Puppies have growth spurts too and their neck size can change overnight!
Pressure necrosis is a condition that can develop if a collar is too tight and left on for extended periods of time. Imagine wearing shoes that were too small for you. The combined effect of the pressure from the tight shoes and the rubbing from walking in them would eventually create a sore on your foot. The same is true for a collar on a dog's neck. It is absolutely imperative that the collar be fitted correctly and removed regularly to avoid any discomfort or harm to your pet. Check your dog's neck regularly to be sure the collar is not irritating her. If you notice any redness or sores, stop using the fence collar, clean your dog's neck well with soap and water and do not use the collar again until the sores are completely healed. Also double check the collar fit.
These sores are NOT BURNS! An electric fence collar produces only 2% of the heat output needed to create a burn.