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Electric fence problem  RSS feed

 
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Hi, ive done alot of reading on electric fences and cant seem to get this right. I have a small fence, 120ft x 80ft, that i have an electric fence around to keep my dogs from jumping over. I have tried 3 different energizers and they all seem very week. My newest one is one good for 15 miles but i can hold my hand on it with no problems of any discomfort. Using 3 grounding rods.

Its a simple setup. 1 wire. But it isnt keeping my dogs in the yard. What joule size or energizer size do i need to give my dogs a good shock to prevent them from climbing/jumping my fence?

Current energizer is 15 mile, .7 output and .9 stored.
 
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Nick Clair wrote:Hi, ive done alot of reading on electric fences and cant seem to get this right. I have a small fence, 120ft x 80ft, that i have an electric fence around to keep my dogs from jumping over. I have tried 3 different energizers and they all seem very week. My newest one is one good for 15 miles but i can hold my hand on it with no problems of any discomfort. Using 3 grounding rods.

Its a simple setup. 1 wire. But it isnt keeping my dogs in the yard. What joule size or energizer size do i need to give my dogs a good shock to prevent them from climbing/jumping my fence?

Current energizer is 15 mile, .7 output and .9 stored.



Are you wearing rubber soled shoes when you hold your hand on the fence? Try it barefoot.

Have you tested it with the tester/light thing that usually comes with them? Is that registering a signal? Is there grass or other brush touching the fence?

Most fences don't work if the individual is not standing firmly on the ground. There are some types of fences for poultry and such that have two separate wires to jolt animals that jump on to the fence, what type did you buy?

Personally I used a hotwire type fence once, and since then have used radio fences (the collar delivers the shock, and for the vast majority of dogs the lowest setting works). I would NOT use a high current as I suspect there is another problem. If you can't feel it then your dogs can't either, and you don't want to "fix" the problem and then give your dogs a cruel way-too-high jolt.

Also what breed of dog? Sounds like it is definitely a fence problem but some breeds can be really hard to contain with an electric fence (some super high prey drive hunting breeds, or Siberian Huskies etc...)
 
Nick Clair
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Well ive tried the chock collar. no go. Tried the invisible fence, no go. 1 of my dogs still manages to jump my privacy fence and get out. The electric fence is basically 1 of my last options.

i havent tested it with a light cause i know its working. I can hold my finger close to it and actually see the spark jump to my finger. Can feel the shock
but not enough to keep my dogs in the yard. Mine didnt come with a tester light though. I mean it has a light on the actual energizer though.
No grass or brush. Its at the top of my privacy fence and im using those plastic standoffs to keep it off the wood fence.

All i was told that I had to do with my energizer was ground one of the terminals with grounding rods and then run my actual fence wire to the other teminal. And it just pulses the current through it.

I have not tried it with no shoes on. But i was told again that since the energizer is already grounded that it shouldnt matter wether your touching the ground or not.

I have 2 australian/husky mixes.
 
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Hi Nick. Welcome to permies.

Can you explain how your wire is attached to the fenceposts? Also, how far apart are your ground rods? One more question, what type and what gauge wire is being used going around the enclosure?

Edit: I just saw the last part of your post. Definitely go test it barefoot. I've tried it, and if all is working right, it hurts. Electric fences work by the animal (or person) being the conductor, completing the circuit from hot wire to ground. Shoes get in the way of this.
 
Nick Clair
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James Freyr wrote:Hi Nick. Welcome to permies.

Can you explain how your wire is attached to the fenceposts? Also, how far apart are your ground rods? One more question, what type and what gauge wire is being used going around the enclosure?

Edit: I just saw the last part of your post. Definitely go test it barefoot. I've tried it, and if all is working right, it hurts. Electric fences work by the animal (or person) being the conductor, completing the circuit from hot wire to ground. Shoes get in the way of this.




So if thats the case how is it suppose to shock my dog if he jumps up on the fence and touches the wire? he wont be touching the ground at all...

ground return system?
 
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As James asked, how is the electric wire mounted? A weak controller will not be happy with any shorts..  

If the rest of the fence is metal, grounding it seems the simplest option assuming all well with the hot wire.

Double fences are also a fairly common approach to jump-happy critters... if the electric was right where they need to launch from, it might spoil their fun.

A big energizer will blast right through suboptimal stuff. I have one that puts out 9.6J; I used it inside my cement floored barn with a single temp ground rod outside maybe a foot into the ground. Tester shows its down to around 5.5J after all that nonsense. It will shock you real good despite your boots even in this silly application, but you're still gonna need to be standing on something vaguely grounded.

 
Nick Clair
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I had mentioned to another guy above that it was around a privacy fence using those plastic standoffs used for electric fence. So there isnt any chance of it grounding out anywhere. Ive triple checked that lol
 
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I used a hotwire to keep my Siberian Huskies behind their fence and it worked just fine. The smart ones would listen to the wire to determine if the charger was on or not. Yes, they could hear the intermittent charge.

If you can hold your hand to the wire, then it's not working properly. A 15 mile charger should give you quite a zap even in dry weather, and if the ground is moist with dew, it will either make you jump or buckle your knees. This is the voice of experience who has hit the hotwire many times too often.

The fence testers are real cheap. You can buy them at any feed store and online. Mine is over 40 years old and still works.

A few things to check .....
...check that your wiring is attached to the correct terminals of the charger. One pole is for the ground, the other is for the hotwire.
...it's best to use insulated wire from the charger to the ground and to the fence. Even a spiderweb or insect in contact with a non-insulated wire can strongly interfere with the system working.
..check to see if the copper wires (the insulation needs to be removed to expose the copper wires) are securely in contact on their charge poles, and the nuts snugly fastened in place.
...check to see if the copper wires are snugly attached to the ground rod. They make a special clamp for that which works well even out in the weather. If using a galvanized rod, the point of contact for the wire needs to be filed or sanded to expose clean metal before attaching the wire. I do this step with copper grounding rods too in order to have good conductivity.
...unless the charger is mounted right at the fence, you will be running an insulated wire from the charger to the fencing wire. The spot where the two wires meet needs to have good contact and be covered with electrical tape or other suitable material. I usually remove 6" of insulation and  twine the two wires together for a 6" length and cover with two layers of electrical tape. But if using braided hotwire, I'll make an 18" connection.
...the hotwire itself is not insulated. It is bare wire made for this purpose. Being bare, it needs to be mounted on insulators to prevent grounding. At no point can it be allowed to contact anything but the insulators. Anything touching the wire could ground it out -- spiderwebs, insects, grass, a weed, wood, anything. I mounted the wire taut so that it wouldn't swing in the wind.
...back to the ground rod -- it needs to be driven into the ground as deeply as possible. Plus the dirt needs to be moist or damp for the ground to be established. Thus the reason for multiple rods, reasoning that at least one would make a good contact. I've never used more than one rod because I intentionally water the rod once a month. I'd run a hose on a slow drip for a couple hours to thoroughly soak the rod site, or if no hose, I'd slowly dump a couple 5 gallon buckets of water on it. That ensured a good ground. A ground can be tested with a meter, but I never bothered because my fence always zapped me good.

As someone mentioned, your dog needs to have its back feet on the soil when his nose or front feet contact the hotwire. So you want to mount the hotwire at a level where that will happen. I would run one wire 6" above ground level to prevent digging out, and another at about 3 1/2 foot above ground level, right at nose height when they stood up on the fence. The wire was on insulators that kept the wire about 5"-6" away from the fencing. The hotwire doesn't prevent jumping over if the dog climbs the fence and slithers over the top. The idea is to brainwash them into not even trying to climb or jump the fence in the first place. If you want to have a hotwire, say at the top of a 6' high chain link fence, then you need to take additional steps to install a ground wire about 2" away from the hotwire so that the dog gets shocked when he touches the two at the same time. This configuration is more difficult to get to work and still doesn't effectively control freeflying jumpers.

I would train my dogs to the hotwire by hanging treats on or near the wire so that the dog would get zapped when they tried to take the treat. Husky type dogs are smart and soon figure out it was the wire that bite them. Don't fail to train your dogs, because they may not figure it out correctly on their own. They need to be aware that it's the wire and that they can't get past it.

Over the years I've had dozens of Siberian Huskies, Shiba Inu, and a few other breeds. Most were escape artists. None got past the hotwire.
 
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Nick, i think your comments about the hot wire being at the top of a wooden fence, where the dogs are “airborne” or at least on a poor conductor of a wooden fence... may be the clue.

Thinking of squirrels and birds on transmission lines...

What sort of fencing is it? I’m wondering if there’s anything like a middle rail like on many panel/stockade fences that is a foothold for the dogs? You could add a grounded wire or mesh on that rail to be sure the dog is grounded electrically when scaling the fence.

I was told that dry soil, like well drained gravel, can be difficult to get a good ground in. Multiple rods wired together was the solution. Three ought to be plenty?

The tester i have has a series of lights to indicate the quality of the shock delivered. It is more pleasant than the finger test, IMHO.
 
Su Ba
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If the hotwire is on the top of the wooden fence rather than horizontally out from the fence by 6 inches, then the dog could simply hook its feet over the top of the fence, grounding out the hotwire and receiving zero shock. Even using a separate grounding wire run adjacent to the hotwire might not work because the dog will be grounding the system of by pressing the wires against the wood, depending upon how the wires are mounted relative to the dog's foot.
 
Nick Clair
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Everything you guys have mentioned I have already done. Wiring is all done properly, standoffs, everything.
Grounded using insulated wire to 3 grounding rods. 2 6ft rods and 1 8ft rod. Copper rods. using grounding clamps. Even used a file to rough up the surface to clamp the wire to the ground rods.
Wires are wrapped around a screw terminal and screwed onto them. They are tight. Energizer is outside by the fence. Connected diretly to the hotwire. No insulated wire is present there because there is no need since energizer is by the fence.
The hotwire is attached to my wooden privacy fence, 6ft high using plastic standoffs 6" horizontally off the fence on every fence post that is 8ft apart using 17g steel wire that is tight, not lose on the standoffs.
My dogs touch the hot wire when they climb/jump my 6ft wood privacy fence. I physically watch them do it and there touching it. Its not zapping them like its suppose to and here lies my problem of why not.

I understand electricity very well. Ive built tesla coils producing over 50,000 volts that would kill you if you touched it lol but I can not figure out why my fence isnt producing a good shock. I shouldnt be able to touch it but I can. My taser gives off a better shock than this fence does.

I can even take the hotwire off the energizer (keeping the ground hooked up) and touch the hot terminal with still a minimal shock. Poured water on the ground rods and on my hand even with no worse shock.
 
James Freyr
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Nick Clair wrote:

James Freyr wrote:Hi Nick. Welcome to permies.

Can you explain how your wire is attached to the fenceposts? Also, how far apart are your ground rods? One more question, what type and what gauge wire is being used going around the enclosure?

Edit: I just saw the last part of your post. Definitely go test it barefoot. I've tried it, and if all is working right, it hurts. Electric fences work by the animal (or person) being the conductor, completing the circuit from hot wire to ground. Shoes get in the way of this.




So if thats the case how is it suppose to shock my dog if he jumps up on the fence and touches the wire? he wont be touching the ground at all...

ground return system?



Nothing will happen. At least one dogs paw needs to be in contact with the ground as the dog touches the fence.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Nick you are saying the wire is attached to the TOP of the wood fence? Then the dogs are NOT grounded when they touch it! You are grounded when you put your hand near the wire (and btw...the shock comes from TOUCHING the wire,  ideally when barefoot).

I don't know what type of radio fence you tried, but that is what I would use. With a "stubborn dog collar" or even TWO of them, it will stop even the most determined fence jumpers and they don't need to be grounded to feel it.
 
James Freyr
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One option to maybe consider is to lower the hot wire from the top of the fence to nose height. It's possible that if they touch that a few times, they might think the entire fence causes pain and maybe keep a safe distance from it and no longer try to jump over it.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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James Freyr wrote:One option to maybe consider is to lower the hot wire from the top of the fence to nose height. It's possible that if they touch that a few times, they might think the entire fence causes pain and maybe keep a safe distance from it and no longer try to jump over it.



Good point, if it is positioned in such a way they will almost certainly touch it when they try to climb the fence it may work.
 
James Freyr
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Nick, are the three ground rods right next to each other or is each one at least six feet apart from another? Also, is this a solar energizer and if it is, have you checked the battery?
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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James Freyr wrote:Nick, are the three ground rods right next to each other or is each one at least six feet apart from another? Also, is this a solar energizer and if it is, have you checked the battery?



He said it throws a "spark" if he gets close to touching it so it sounds like the fence IS working, it is just positioned in the wrong place. Though if he bought a charger designed for containing huge animals (cattle) in a large space I would worry it is way too strong of a shock for 50-60 lb dogs.
 
Kenneth Elwell
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It is easy to focus on the mechanical/electrical, which I think we have exhausted.

Su and James both mention the training.

There has always been a problem between the dog's brain and the fence.
The dog thinks the fence is safe to jump.
It may actually be safe to jump for a dog wearing two wool sweaters!

Nose height and baiting with something... maybe not a "treat" (not like ones they usually get, so as not to form a bad association with their treats), but something else that they will investigate and find the shock of the hot wire.
 
James Freyr
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Lucrecia Anderson wrote:

James Freyr wrote:Nick, are the three ground rods right next to each other or is each one at least six feet apart from another? Also, is this a solar energizer and if it is, have you checked the battery?



He said it throws a "spark" if he gets close to touching it so it sounds like the fence IS working, it is just positioned in the wrong place. Though if he bought a charger designed for containing huge animals (cattle) in a large space I would worry it is way too strong of a shock for 50-60 lb dogs.



I have a solar fence energizer, and was experiencing a weak pulse. I have a simple fence tester, and it was showing 1-2Kv instead of the 10kv pulse it normally emits. I have a 1 joule energizer going thru about 1200 feet of polywire fence (when it's working right, it can pack a whallop). After much fence checking and ground inspecting, I had a battery with a bad cell in it. After replacing the bad battery, it was back to normal with an ass kickin' hot zap.

Over the years in buying 12v lead acid batteries, both the tiny sealed kind and car/truck size, I've purchased two that were brand new and bad. I've had two more go bad and fail to hold a charge within six months of having them. I think they're one of those things that are manufactured by the millions and a few are going to come off the assembly line defective.
 
Su Ba
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<<<I can even take the hotwire off the energizer (keeping the ground hooked up) and touch the hot terminal with still a minimal shock. Poured water on the ground rods and on my hand even with no worse shock.>>>

Sounds like you've narrowed the problem down to the fence charger. Is it a plug in model or a solar model? If it is a plug in, then I'm stumped. Even a small charger should give you more than a mild shock from the terminal.  If it's a solar model, then I would be checking to see if it was fully charged prior to putting it into service. I presently use solar chargers and let them set in the full sun for several days before hooking them up the first time. Depending upon your full sun hours, you may or may not need to bring it offline so that it can recharge fully.

By the way, I've always used a livestock charger used for horses, one with the intermittent zap. They are dependable and do fine with dogs your size. I'm using 5 fence chargers on my farm right now, all solar. My farm dogs sometimes hit the wire while ducking under or over the livestock pasture "fencing" but it doesn't do them any lasting harm other than the zap.
 
Kenneth Elwell
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My master spends an awful lot of time decorating our fence, he even hurts himself while doing it!
I think he realizes how important the fence is to me as a way to escape the confines of our yard to explore and make new friends.
It is remarkable how much he understands, I think he really gets me!
I love him sooo much!!!
"Howwlll!!!"
 
Nick Clair
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Lucrecia Anderson wrote:Nick you are saying the wire is attached to the TOP of the wood fence? Then the dogs are NOT grounded when they touch it! You are grounded when you put your hand near the wire (and btw...the shock comes from TOUCHING the wire,  ideally when barefoot).

I don't know what type of radio fence you tried, but that is what I would use. With a "stubborn dog collar" or even TWO of them, it will stop even the most determined fence jumpers and they don't need to be grounded to feel it.



I have used good shock collars. ones that have a good shock. Ive personally tested them myself, my one dog is just very, very stubborrn.

A few of you were missing the part that I said that my dog is always touching the fence when he climbs/jumps it. I physically see him touch it and it doesnt phase him. Moving the fence closer to the ground or up top, hes touching the fence.


Sooo this is what ive just figured out. Yall right about the path not being completed. I just held my hot wire and ground cable and holy crap, that produced a kick.
So what i figure I have to do is add a ground return system that is 6" below the hot wire.

On another note, i think this energizer has too much kick...
I wish that the watts and amps were posted on these energizers so I know what it pulls.
Arent these things suppose to output like 7000v? but how many watts?
 
Nick Clair
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Su Ba wrote:<<<I can even take the hotwire off the energizer (keeping the ground hooked up) and touch the hot terminal with still a minimal shock. Poured water on the ground rods and on my hand even with no worse shock.>>>

Sounds like you've narrowed the problem down to the fence charger. Is it a plug in model or a solar model? If it is a plug in, then I'm stumped. Even a small charger should give you more than a mild shock from the terminal.  If it's a solar model, then I would be checking to see if it was fully charged prior to putting it into service. I presently use solar chargers and let them set in the full sun for several days before hooking them up the first time. Depending upon your full sun hours, you may or may not need to bring it offline so that it can recharge fully.

By the way, I've always used a livestock charger used for horses, one with the intermittent zap. They are dependable and do fine with dogs your size. I'm using 5 fence chargers on my farm right now, all solar. My farm dogs sometimes hit the wire while ducking under or over the livestock pasture "fencing" but it doesn't do them any lasting harm other than the zap.



Yea its an AC charger and im realizeing what the problem is. No complete path like others have mentioned. I put my finger on the ground and hot terminals on the chargers and that hurt. May be to much for my dogs....
 
James Freyr
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Hey Nick I'm glad you've got it narrowed down. A grounded wire below the hot like you mentioned will certainly help complete the circuit if the dogs touch both at the same time.

You mentioned you worry it may be too much for the dogs, but that's how they learn. If it's not a quality shock and only feels like a nuisance, they might still go over the fence.

A zap that is very painful tends to be very effective at keeping animals within a boundary and/or keeping predators out.

Good luck!
 
Nick Clair
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James Freyr wrote:Hey Nick I'm glad you've got it narrowed down. A grounded wire below the hot like you mentioned will certainly help complete the circuit if the dogs touch both at the same time.

You mentioned you worry it may be too much for the dogs, but that's how they learn. If it's not a quality shock and only feels like a nuisance, they might still go over the fence.

A zap that is very painful tends to be very effective at keeping animals within a boundary and/or keeping predators out.

Good luck!



but Im worried about it being a bit to much. I mean that zap, i mean that was much more than I was expecting. I had a 5 mile charger that didnt do that and now Im using this 15 mile charger. Both of them over kill since my yard is only 120ft x 80ft.
Is there a way to know the exact volts, watts and amps these produce? I know it uses 120vac on the input and .7 joule output. but thats it.
 
James Freyr
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Nick Clair wrote:

James Freyr wrote:Hey Nick I'm glad you've got it narrowed down. A grounded wire below the hot like you mentioned will certainly help complete the circuit if the dogs touch both at the same time.

You mentioned you worry it may be too much for the dogs, but that's how they learn. If it's not a quality shock and only feels like a nuisance, they might still go over the fence.

A zap that is very painful tends to be very effective at keeping animals within a boundary and/or keeping predators out.

Good luck!



but Im worried about it being a bit to much. I mean that zap, i mean that was much more than I was expecting. I had a 5 mile charger that didnt do that and now Im using this 15 mile charger. Both of them over kill since my yard is only 120ft x 80ft.
Is there a way to know the exact volts, watts and amps these produce? I know it uses 120vac on the input and .7 joule output. but thats it.



So I don't know a ton about electricity, but fence energizers are all about voltage, and there's extremely little current or amperage coming with those volts. Amps are what electrocutes and kills.

Miles as a rating for a fence energizer is a poor way to rate one. One may ask "15 miles of what? One strand, 5 strands? Polywire or slickwire?" The best way to determine an energizer size is joules. Maybe think of joules as the amount of punch the volts have. And yours being at .7 joules, I think is adequate and sized right. It leaves room for expansion in the future too.

I have a 1 joule energizer attached to not much fence around my chickens, not to keep them in, but predators out. And it works. I have yet to find a dead coyote, dog, racoon, opossum, etc. at my fence. I do occasionally find a dead toad that touched the fence.

Yes it hurts and feels like a lot, but that's what they're designed to do.
 
Nick Clair
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James Freyr wrote:

Nick Clair wrote:

James Freyr wrote:Hey Nick I'm glad you've got it narrowed down. A grounded wire below the hot like you mentioned will certainly help complete the circuit if the dogs touch both at the same time.

You mentioned you worry it may be too much for the dogs, but that's how they learn. If it's not a quality shock and only feels like a nuisance, they might still go over the fence.

A zap that is very painful tends to be very effective at keeping animals within a boundary and/or keeping predators out.

Good luck!



but Im worried about it being a bit to much. I mean that zap, i mean that was much more than I was expecting. I had a 5 mile charger that didnt do that and now Im using this 15 mile charger. Both of them over kill since my yard is only 120ft x 80ft.
Is there a way to know the exact volts, watts and amps these produce? I know it uses 120vac on the input and .7 joule output. but thats it.



So I don't know a ton about electricity, but fence energizers are all about voltage, and there's extremely little current or amperage coming with those volts. Amps are what electrocutes and kills.

Miles as a rating for a fence energizer is a poor way to rate one. One may ask "15 miles of what? One strand, 5 strands? Polywire or slickwire?" The best way to determine an energizer size is joules. Maybe think of joules as the amount of punch the volts have. And yours being at .7 joules, I think is adequate and sized right. It leaves room for expansion in the future too.

I have a 1 joule energizer attached to not much fence around my chickens, not to keep them in, but predators out. And it works. I have yet to find a dead coyote, dog, racoon, opossum, etc. at my fence. I do occasionally find a dead toad that touched the fence.

Yes it hurts and feels like a lot, but that's what they're designed to do.



Well right. 50mA is all it takes to kill a person. Voltage is basically whats needed to peirce through fur or coats and whatever. Joules are equal to the amount of energy to create 1 watt. Joules are energy and watts are the power.  1 Watt is defined as 1 Joule per second.
But I dont even know how many volts my energizer puts off. It doesnt have any specs about it listed on it. Just the Joules.

Im just curious as to what this thing produces is all. Ive got a degee in electronics and I always look at specs on anything electrical. Just a habit lol
 
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The fact that your dog has his foot on the wooden fence when he contacts the hotwire will not negate the zap if his hind foot is on the ground. But if the dog is entirely on the wooden fence, the zap will not be intense. The problem I had to get around with my huskies was that they would jump and hook their front feet over the top of the fence along with the hotwire, effectively shorting the system out. I got around that by lowing the hotwire to nose level and bringing it out from the fence by 6 inches.

By the way, I used a piece of raw bacon stripesp as the bait to teach them about the hotwire. My dogs would learn about the presence of the hotwire  that ran along 3 1/2 to 4 foot above the ground. None opted to try to jump past the "biting" wires. But a diehard jumper who was smart enough to figure on avoiding the wire by jumping may need a ground/hot wire configuration run above the fence set up In a way so there is enough room for the dog to hook his feet over the fence and then contact the wires with his face or head thus getting the shock. I saw this arrangement done for a retired military service Weimaraner who could scale 10 foot high fences. The two wires were set off at a 45° angle with the wires far enough away from the fence that the dog couldn't drag them down when he jumped.
 
James Freyr
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Nick Clair wrote:

Im just curious as to what this thing produces is all.



Not knowing the brand I will hazard a guess and say 10,000 volts. It is a very common volt output of most standard fence energizers. Last year I was curious about fence energizers and I looked for something higher than 10Kv, and I couldn't find anything available on the consumer market, at least here in the states. I also don't recall seeing anything lower than 10Kv. My neighbor is an electrical engineer, and also a farmer, and he told me that hooves are not a great conductor and as an example 10Kv is needed for cows to respect a fence, or they might challenge it and just knock it down, and that animals with soft padded paws, which conduct way better than hooves, will fear and respect 5 or 6Kv, but 10Kv is all the better.

 
Nick Clair
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Well i went ahead and went back to the store and bought the smaller energizer that is .07 joule output instead of the .7 joule output. Its smaller so im hoping a bit of a smaller shock. I am just going to run a ground wire around the top of the fence about 6" lower than the hot wire so if he climbs the fence then he should touch both wires and get shocked.
 
James Freyr
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Hey Nick I hope you report back and let us know how everything works out for you. Good luck!
 
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1.2 joule 'mostly' worked for us for awhile.  6 joule (10,000 volts) definitely makes an animal think twice though.  Depends on how stubborn they are.  Dogs learn on first contact.  Pigs and goats need a few reminders now and then...
 
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