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DogWatch uses hidden fences to keep dogs from escaping yards

DogWatch claims to be the only dog fence company running on an FM radio signal, which means owners won’t have to worry about another dog fence overtaking their signal.

Jim Job Fargo DogWatch.jpg
Jim Job stands at his DogWatch booth at the 2022 Forx Builders show in Grand Forks.
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GRAND FORKS — James “Jim” Job has worked for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department for nearly 12 years, but his other pursuit allows him to hang out with home-trained animals for a change.

Job has been serving as the department’s local outreach biologist for more than four years, but he is also the owner/operator of Fargo DogWatch, an offshoot of DogWatch of the Red River Valley. The company, which has dealers in 21 countries and all across the United States, installs hidden fences to indoor and outdoor spaces keeping dogs from leaving the yard, entering an off-limits room and more.

Job met a man who worked for DogWatch in Montana, and after speaking with him, he saw a need for a dealership in the Grand Forks area. Before long, Job was the sole owner and operator of DogWatch’s efforts in Fargo and Grand Forks.

So, what exactly is a “hidden fence” and how does it keep dogs from entering areas they aren’t supposed to go to, or exiting the area they need to stay in? Job said the process is fairly simple and takes about four hours to complete.

“We show up the day of (installation), we put the wire in the ground, typically around the perimeter of the property, and we go through sidewalks, driveways and pretty much encompass the entire property,” Job said. “And once the wire’s in the ground, we hook it up to a transmitter and we flag the yard, so we teach the dogs to avoid the flags.”

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DogWatch claims to be the only dog fence company running on an FM radio signal, which means owners won’t have to worry about another dog fence overtaking their signal.

“If you have DogWatch and you put it next to a competitor’s fence, that competitor’s fence will end up failing due to the frequency of the FM signal being a continuous wavelength, versus AM, which is a start-and-stop type of weight wavelength,” Job said.

After “flagging” the yard, Job conducts a training session with the pet owners. He said the pet owners are able to be on one side of the flag and dogs will stay about five feet away from it within about 10 minutes of training.

The wires have no electricity coursing through them. The FM radio signal will go through about 10 feet of snow or water, and the wire has a heavy coating on it with an expected underground life span of 27 years. Because of that, Job said he rarely sees a wire break due to frost. Most of the time, breaks are caused by heavy machinery digging it up.

For it to work, dogs must wear a special collar giving off a “static correction,” which is unpleasant to the dogs. Job said it is completely different from a shock collar and is more humane.

“It has the same effect of you rubbing your feet across the carpet and touching a piece of metal or your TV screen,” Job said.

For indoor boundaries, owners can use the same collar used for the hidden outdoor fences. A lot of Job’s customers use a wireless option for indoor boundaries, which works by emitting the FM signal to the dog’s collar when it is within a certain doorway or other area of a dwelling space.

“The indoor boundaries are just kind of an extra perk for the outdoor fence,” Job said.

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Job said one of the biggest things the hidden fences can help with are pets with a tendency to run out of the house when the front door is open, or even dogs that dig underneath fences to get outside of a property.

The hidden fence technology can also be used on cats, but the training is a bit different.

“Cats are very smart, and once they learn the flags, you never have to worry about the cat ever crossing that boundary,” Job said.

Job even uses hidden fences with his own dog, which primarily stays outside right now. He said the product can be used to keep pets with a knack for escaping a property from ever running away again.

“My dog has been outside since about 9 a.m. this morning and hasn't come inside,” Job said. “She just stays right in front of the yard.”

Related Topics: LOCAL BUSINESS
Jacob Holley joined the Grand Forks Herald as its business reporter in June 2021.

Holley's beat at the Grand Forks Herald is broad and includes a variety of topics, including small business, national trends and more.

Readers can reach Holley at jholley@gfherald.com.Follow him on Twitter @JakeHolleyMedia.
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