Petsafe PIF-300 'Instant Fence' wireless dog fence, $10.

The world of dog containment has two main styles of fence - the 'buried wire' and the 'wireless.' With the buried wire type of fence, you have to bury a wire around the perimeter of the area you want to keep the dog in, and when the dog approaches this wire, the collar shocks the daylights out of him. Okay, it's actually just a small static electricity zap, but if there's one thing dogs really hate, it's getting shocked!

Whereas the buried wire system works with the collar's proximity to the wire, the wireless system simply works by the collar's distance from the base unit. The user simply turns on the base unit and walks out into the yard to the point where the collar 'beeps.' He can adjust the base unit if he needs more distance or less distance, and when he has the distance set correctly, he places a little flag in the ground at this invisible boundary. In use, the dog will hear this audible beep as he approaches the boundary, and then get a shock if he continues toward the flagged area. Since the signal from the base unit in the wireless system simply radiates in a circle, it's not possible to set boundaries as accurately as you can with the buried wire system, but it's sure easier than burying a bunch of wire around the yard!

Although I've never used any type of dog fence, I couldn't help but think this was an expensive piece of equipment when I saw it at the sale. So, I did what I often do when there's nothing to lose, and said to the seller, 'Man, this thing looks expensive. How much do these things cost new?' He told me that a year ago he'd paid $300 for it, and a trip to a local pet shop later that day confirmed for me that these systems do indeed sell for $329.

An important thing to note here is that if the seller had been asking $40 or $50 for this unit, the last thing I'd want to do is get him started about how much he'd paid for it. Why would I want to dredge up the memory of the $300 purchase and then try to beat him down on his price? But since I was more than happy to pay him his $10 asking price, it didn't matter at all. And for $10, he certainly had no reason to lie to me about anything.

So, does this thing work? Well, the seller told me it worked fine. and when I plugged in the base unit and walked out in to the yard with the collar, I got the audible beep... and then the shock. So, I'd have to say that it does indeed work as advertised!

When I listed this unit on eBay, I told bidders just what I'd tested on it and it sold for $170.

Photo of Petsafe PIF-300 wireless dog containment fence