- What is a DogWatch SmartFence®?
The DogWatch SmartFence® is a hidden underground pet fencing system that uses a radio signal to keep your dog in a designated containment area, such as a yard; or out of an area, such as a swimming pool, patio, or garden. The DogWatch SmartFence® includes a communication component that will notify you by text and/or email if there is a break in the underground fence or if your pet’s collar battery is low, so you will know before your pet does if there is an issue with the fence working as it should. It will also let you know if your pet is testing his boundaries and will track your pet’s activity.
Hidden fences are often mistakenly referred to generically as “invisible fences”. Invisible Fence® is a brand name and Registered Trademark of the Invisible Fence Company.
- How does the SmartFence work?
As with all hidden dog fences”, the “fence” part of the DogWatch SmartFence is created by burying a ‘boundary wire’ a few inches underground around your property. The buried wire carries a harmless, low level radio signal from a transmitter installed in your house or garage. Your pet wears a lightweight, waterproof receiver collar (SmartCollar) that recognizes the radio signal. As your pet approaches the buried wire, the receiver collar emits an audible warning signal. If your pet travels further, he will receive a mild but safe stimulation (also called a “correction”) from the receiver collar. Through a training program, your pet learns to recognize his fence boundaries and learns to stop at the warning signal.
In addition to the basic hidden fence, the SmartFence uses a special “communication portal” connected to your home Internet. The portal receives signals from both the transmitter installed in your house or garage and the receiver worn by your dog. These signals communicate information about the status of your hidden fence, your dog’s collar, and your dog’s activity. If the portal detects an issue, such as a break in the boundary wire or a low battery in the receiver collar, it triggers an alert which will be sent to you (and/or whoever else you designate) via text and/or email.
Information from the SmartFence portal can be accessed using our SmartFence WebApp on your mobile device or desktop computer. You can view the status of your SmartFence and any alerts, your pet’s activity, and if your pet has been challenging the boundary (i.e., if your pet has been triggering the audible alert.)
- How does my dog learn where the SmartFence boundary is?
Training is an important part of the process. After we install the hidden fence, we work with you to train your pet. The training includes teaching your pet to recognize the containment area boundaries through a combination of voice commands, audible warning signals from the receiver collar and visual flags that are set in the yard where the pet hears the warning alert. With training, the dog remembers the placement of the flags and associates the flags with the warning signal. As your pet learns, the flags are slowly taken away. Your pet also learns that if he continues beyond the flags and warning alert, he will receive a mild correction (a stimulation from the collar). After training, most dogs do not cross the hidden boundary; they usually stop before the warning signal to avoid the correction.
We will initiate the training and provide instructions and support so you can complete and reinforce the training. After the initial training, your dog goes through a training session with you for a few minutes each day for about two weeks. We will develop a plan to meet the specific training needs of your pet(s).
- Will the stimulation from the SmartCollar™ hurt my dog?
No. The “stimulation” from the collar is unpleasant, but it will not “burn” or injure your pet. It is a sensation similar to the static shock you receive after walking across a carpet in your socks. It is uncomfortable, but it does not harm you.
- Can I use a SmartFence if I do not have Internet?
You can use the Hidden Fence (the containment part of the fence) without the Internet. The communication part of the system (notification alerts, system settings and activity tracking) will not work without an Internet connection.
- What will happen to my SmartFence if my Internet isn’t working?
The Hidden Fence (the containment part of the fence) is not dependent on the Internet and will work as it should even if your Internet is turned ‘off’ or not working. If your Internet is turned ‘off’ or not working, the fence will work, but you will not receive notification alerts, system settings and activity tracking until your Internet connection is restored.
- Can I use a SmartFence if I do not have a smartphone?
Yes, you can still get text message and/or email alerts and you can access your SmartFence WebApp profile from any computer or other Internet enabled device.
- Is the SmartFence WebApp available on both iPhone and Android devices?
Yes, the SmartFence WebApp works on both iPhone and Android devices. The WebApp is not an “App” that you download in the App Store or Play Store. Instead, it is a progressive web app, accessible via any internet browser (Safari, Chrome, etc.). The WebApp can be saved to the home screen of your mobile device for easy access. For more information about how to access, setup and save the WebApp, please see our SmartFence Quick Start Guide or SmartFence Owner’s Guide.
- What happens when my dog’s SmartCollar travels out of range of the Communication Portal?
The DogWatch SmartCollar is designed with the understanding that your pet will probably spend time in parts of the yard that may be beyond the transmission range of your SmartFence Communication Portal. That’s OK!
- What if I do not have an extra Ethernet port on my router?
The SmartFence requires the use of an Ethernet port. You may be able to add ports to your router by connecting it to an Ethernet switch. These devices should be available at stores such as Staples® or Best Buy®.