Setting Up and Splicing Wire
- Click HERE to see Part 2 of this tutorial (How to hot wire gates, rabbit hutches and chicken coops).
Ok I promised some of you I would post a tutorial about this…
Although this method works for all destructive , escape-driven animals (dogs/horses/cows/etc), I get the most questions from frustrated dog owners on how to control their out-of-control pups….so lets talk about that for a bit.
I know how frustrating it is to have a dog that no matter how many holes you plug in the fence, they always seem to find another way out. When nothing else works and you are about to get rid of the dog, try this first! It’s worked for me 100% on the hundreds of hard-to-contain foster dogs that I’ve cared for.
I was a foster parent for a no-kill shelter for 10 years and was THE ONE they called when they had a fence jumper, fence climber, or just plain ATE through the fence to escape. I had it figured out how to stop this behavior once and for all and these homeless dogs were able to be rehabilitated from escaping, and were eventually adopted out to wonderful, permanent homes.
It’s called an electric fence, or ‘hot wire’. Unfortunately where I live, if your dog escapes, it’s legal for anyone to shoot him/her if the dog wanders onto their property…that is if the dog doesn’t get eaten by coyotes or gets hit by a car first. Needless to say, I had to figure a way to contain my much loved, hard-to-contain dogs. This method saves dog’s lives by keeping them in the yard, teaching them how to respect the fence that was put up to contain them in the first place.
Before I put up the hot wire, ‘Chilidog’ was escaping daily, causing mischief in the neighborhood. I was afraid that he would eventually be shot or get hit by a car. As you can see in the pic above, Chilidog shows no fear of the hot wire. He has learned to respect it and calmly walks along the fence leaving a respectful distance between him and the wire.
- Roll of Hot Wire (I get the poly string because it stretches tight, looks nicer, and seems to hold up better… but you can also purchase some simple aluminum hot wire and skip all the splicing. Simply twist the wires together when connecting and you’re good. (Get enough to stretch the perimeter of your fence)
- Three 5ft metal grounding stakes-these stakes will be pounded into the ground for your ‘ground’ (to save money I’ve been known to use rebar for stakes)
- Three hose clamps (1 for each metal grounding stake)
- Four feet of electricity conducting wire. (the wire will connect from one grounding stake to the next)
- Hot wire tester
- Electric fence insulators-I prefer the hot wire to be at least 6in off the fence so I purchase 6in insulators. There are insulators for wooden fences, chain link, t post, etc. (For homemade insulators you will need some 2ft metal stakes and an old garden hose)
- Electric Fence Box-you get purchase a lower watt box for smaller animals like dogs, etc. or you can buy something stronger like a livestock electric box for larger animals
Locate where you want to put your electric fence box. I bought an electric weather-proof box that can be left out in the elements. I just screwed it onto a piece of wood and wired the wood to my wire fencing. Easy!
Pound the 5ft grounding stakes into the ground next to the electric fence box. Each stake should be at least 1 1/2ft apart from each other and sticking out of the ground a few inches
Attach a good electricity-conducting wire going from one stake to the next. Make sure each wire is secured tightly to each stake with the hose clamps to get a good ground
Connect a wire to the ‘grounding rod’ on the electric fence box, coming from the closest stake. The grounding knob is usually on the left so make sure to tighten the wire onto it instead of the ‘hot wire’ knob which is usually on the right
Time for the insulators. Because money was tight I used what I had…in this case a few porcelain insulators for wood fencing and then homemade ones…
Here is a homemade insulator that I made out of a metal stake and garden hose…I simply just pounded it into the ground
For the homemade insulators I just cut off some strips of old garden hose and wrapped the hose around the top of the stake. Make sure the hose completely covers all the way around the stake. Use two strips if needed. The hot wire will short out if it touches the stake and the hose prevents this by acting as an insulator when the hot wire is wrapped around the stake.
When you string the hot wire for dogs, you will want it about 6-10in above the ground so set your insulators accordingly to height. For larger animals like horses, set the insulators higher up on fence.
Decide where your hot wire will run and place your insulators about 10-20ft apart from each other
Time to splice a piece of hotwire to the hot wire box…this will serve as the ‘connector’ wire which will connect the box to the hotwire. Measure and cut a piece of hotwire wire, making sure to add 6in extra for future splicing
The connector wire will be spliced to the ‘hot wire knob’ on the box
If you bought aluminum hot wire all you need to do is twist wires together to splice (but don’t twist too much as it will break. If you bought the poly string (which I prefer), take one end of the ‘connector’ wire you just measured out and cut
Start by unraveling the three main twisted nylon parts of the wire
You will notice tiny wires running through each of the three main nylon parts of the hot wire. Separate these tiny wires from each nylon part and twist them together to keep them tidy and out of the way
Clip the nylon part away with scissors
Now twist all three clumps of wires together
Wrap the wires around the electric wire knob which is usually on the RIGHT side of the electric wire box. Twist securely
Let the other end of the connector dangle for now, it will later be spliced into the main hot wire once you string the main hot wire up.
It’s time to string up the main hot wire! Find where you want it to start and tie the end of the hot wire to the insulator
Continue stretching the wire from one insulator to the next
I simply wrap the hotwire once or twice around the homemade insulators before moving onto the next
When you get to the box, the main hot wire needs to be spliced into the connector wire
To do this, the main wire will need to be cut in order to splice into connector wire. This will leave 3 ends that will be spliced together
Splicing two or more ends of hot wire together is VERY similar as to when we spliced the hot wire to the box…separate the tiny wires and cut away the nylon just like before (the pics only show two hot wires being spliced together but this can be done the same way with three or more also)
Twist the two groups of wires together for a good connection
Tie itself into a knot
Wrap the metal wires around one end of the string to keep it tidy
Fill in any holes along the fence that your dog or other animal has been digging or pushing through to escape.
It’s time to plug er’ in and see how it works! Make sure to use the electric fence tester to make sure hot wire is working.
Tip: Make sure to keep grass and weeds trimmed so they don’t touch the wire and short it out
Horses usually learn quickly and only need to be reprimanded by the hot wire once or twice before learning to respect it. Dogs that are used to escaping may take 1-4 times of trying to go under or scrambling over the fence and letting the fence reprimand them before they finally get the idea to respect it.
Be sure to check out part 2!