Do Robotic Mowers Have Issues With Dog Fences?


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If you are a pet owner who is thinking about getting a robotic lawnmower for the garden, you may have heard that there can be problems for the mower if an invisible dog fence is installed in the garden. 

Fence dog collar and robot mowers
Fence dog collar

Because both the robot mower perimeter wire and the invisible dog fence use the same signalling technology, you may run into some issues when setting up your robot mower. 

In This Short Article – We will explain why robotic mowers can have issues with dog fences, what happens if the two boundaries are together in a garden and some handy workarounds to make your backyard a place where your pets and robot mower can get along safely. 

Both your dog fence and robotic mower rely on perimeter wire

Your shiny new robotic mower depends on the installation of perimeter wire which transmits a signal that the robot can use to navigate your lawn as it cuts grass.

This wire proves an effective boundary for your robot and prevents mowing the wrong areas like flowerbeds or gravel paths, and guides the mower back to its station for charging.

This wire can be staked in place or even buried underground as the wireless signal can still be detected by the robot. 

How does a dog fence work? 

Electric dog fences are marketed as a smart solution to keep dogs and cats within the boundaries of their owner’s property.

Special dog collar and robotic mowers
Special dog collar

These are invisible fences that are created by burying an underground perimeter wire that emits a signal.

The pet wears a special collar that can receive the signal and warn the animal not to cross the boundary.

Initially, they receive a warning sound, but if they persist in crossing the boundary it delivers a painful stimulus to the pet to deter it.

Ideally: Training is required so that the pet does not have to be shocked as it can cause significant distress and health and behavioural problems.

Having a pet fence and a dog fence in the same garden can cause a whole host of problems

If you are a pet owner with one of these dog fences who is welcoming a robotic mower to your home, you could be introducing more than a little chaos to your backyard.

Simply Put – Robotic mower perimeter fencing and pet fences do not get along!

This is because both boundaries will likely use similar AM frequencies 

Many types of invisible dog fences and robotic mower perimeter wire encode their signal using a method known as amplitude modulation (AM) that is imperceptible to human hearing.

robotic mower and flower bed

Having two similar types of AM frequency emitted from wires in the same garden is the perfect recipe for confusion as each wire activates and deactivates the other repeatedly.

Where the AM frequencies match, the robot mower is likely to spin around in circles unsure of whether it is coming or going. 

As for the Dog Fence – Dog fence signals are weaker and more highly localised than the lawn-wide signal of a robotic mower perimeter.

The strength of this competing signal may deactivate a pet fence completely, heralding freedom for Fido!

Worse still proximity between the two wires can give your dog a hard time

If the pet fence wire is too close to the robotic mower wire, there can be coupling between the two wire loops.

This could result in a strong signal and shock of similar magnitude being received by an unwitting dog when they innocently enter your yard.

The clash between pet fences and robot mower wire affects all the leading brands

Running robotic mower at the right time
Run robotic mower at the right time

Many brands of robotic lawnmowers have these issues with invisible dog fences, making the selection of a combination that works a trial-and-error exercise.

Many manufacturers offer testing of the mower or professional installation via a dealership so you can see if the robot mower system will work with your particular dog fence. 

Some robot mower wires and dog fences use the FM frequency to avoid interference 

Newer robotic lawnmowers and pet fences use frequency modulation (FM) signalling.

This type of signal will not be affected by an AM signal and vice versa if both signal types are present.

robotic mower parameter wire
All robotic mowers on the market at the moment use a parameter wire

So a solution to issues with your dog fence could be updating it to an FM version.

The continuous FM signal from a modern brand of dog fence can also work alongside an FM robot lawnmower perimeter wire signal too.

Other quick fixes for perimeter wire and dog fence problems

Interference between expensive equipment like wireless pet containment systems and robotic mowers is likely to require a lot of time, money and experimentation to resolve.

If this is not an option for you, thankfully there are some more down to earth strategies you can use to run your mower and keep your pet contained.

Here are some options.

1. Switch off the dog fence

If you have had the dog fence in place for a long time, it might just be possible to switch it off and still have your pup remain contained.

Classic dog collar labrador
Regular dog collar

After all, the dog fence is a deterrent rather than a hard barrier and if you have fully trained your dog, it will automatically avoid crossing the invisible line.

Remember: Dogs may hear the pet fence signal and discern that it is switched off, so you may need to keep a close eye for your more adventurous four-legged friends.

2. Only switch on the pet fence when the pet is in the garden

These two technologies can get along if you use them once at a time.

Simply schedule your mower to run when your dog is elsewhere and stand down your mower when they have the run of your freshly mowed yard.

Rounding Up

It is well worth bearing in mind the compatibility between these two technologies while searching for a robotic mower as you can check the frequencies of their perimeter wire use before you make a purchase.

AM technology is gradually being superseded by FM technology which means you should be able to use a pet fence and robot mower without problems.

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