I recently adopted a dog on short notice, and can't afford traditional fencing. I looked into wireless invisible fences, but the layout of my property does not work well for a circular radius. So, my solution has been to go with traditional underground invisible fencing. However, it is winter here and the ground is frozen, though probably not more than 3-4 inches deep. I don't want to wait until spring, so I came here for help.

I am a complete newbie when it comes to DIY projects, so I have no idea where to start.

  • I tried just using a shovel to dig a small trench in the ground, but it was too difficult to get any depth and I don't favor the idea of doing that manually around the perimeter of my 75 x 50' yard.
  • I have a reciprocating saw; Can I use that to cut into the frozen ground?

How can I best install the underground wire for the invisible fence in frozen ground?

  • 2
    For now the easiest options may be to get a kennel (small fenced area), install an overhead wire run, or walk the dog on a leash.
    – Tester101
    Feb 7, 2013 at 15:41
  • can the invisible fence just be laid on the ground (and possibly get snowed and rained on) now, and be buried in the spring? Does it somehow not work if not buried? Feb 7, 2013 at 17:55
  • As Kate said, just lay it on the ground. Our neighbors did this when they moved in. The cable may not last as long laying in the sun, but you don't really need it once the dogs are trained. (Based on my neighbor's dogs, I have no direct experience with this type of device)
    – bcworkz
    Feb 7, 2013 at 21:06
  • That's a good idea. I was worried about it getting shifted around too much by people or other animals walking over it, and possibly catching it in the mower. But by the time either of those are too much of an issue, it will be warm enough to bury.
    – dpatchery
    Feb 7, 2013 at 21:14
  • There is training involved in using an invisible fence. You have to tech the dog where the boundary is. The invisible fence does not work well with every breed and/or dog, so there is no guarantee the dog will stay where you want them (but I guess that's true for most fences).
    – Tester101
    Feb 8, 2013 at 12:13

1 Answer 1


First thing first, do NOT use a reciprocating saw for this as this is dangerous and you could end up seriously injured.

If looking for something to make this easy, what you need is a trencher - you can probably rent one from your local home improvement store. It will look something like this (there are smaller models but I couldn't find a good picture). If you can't rent one, maybe try contacting a sprinkler installer to see if they could come do it for you.


EDIT: Found a smaller one, looks like this:

Small Trencher
(source: terrasaw.co.nz)

Alternatively, as others have mentioned, you could just lay it on top of the ground for the short-term. And of course, some back-breaking labor would also accomplish the job.

  • Thanks for the answer! I am going to lay the wire down on the ground for now. But I did look into trencher rentals nearby (there are a few!) and that will be a great second option.
    – dpatchery
    Feb 8, 2013 at 12:58
  • 2
    (no one mentioned) Call before you dig! You don't want to cut into a gas or water line.
    – lsiunsuex
    Feb 8, 2013 at 13:04
  • To the call before you dig guy, there’s not going to be anything 3” in the ground. Water’s usually about a foot down at least, gas 2 or 3.
    – user116819
    May 5, 2020 at 4:30
  • CATV cables tend to wind up close to the surface.... May 5, 2020 at 11:47

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