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I just fielded two phone calls about the difference between a DogWatch Hidden Fence and a store bought system, so I thought why not write about it for all to see.  

There are many, many differences, but I'd just like to hit on a few of the key ones to help people understand why it is always better to go with a professionally installed underground fence.  A big difference between the two is quality of equipment and another is customer service.  But here are more specific examples:

  1. DogWatch is the only system out there that offers a two year battery life in the receiver.  This is not only safer for your dog, but also more convenient and cheaper for you.
  2. DogWatch is the only system that offers indoor and outdoor surge protection.  This is important if lightning were ever to strike your yard and follow the wire into your home.
  3. A lifetime warranty is included on the DogWatch receiver and the transmitter including dog chews.  This may vary by manufacturer, but be sure to check it out as that warranty is important.
  4. We use a much higher gauge of wire than comes with most store bought systems.  If you do choose to self install, be sure to purchase at least 16 gauge wire with a thick jacket that is rated for underground use.
  5. DogWatch offers unlimited training assistance with the purchase of a DogWatch Hidden Fence.  We also offer a 100% money back containment guarantee that we WILL keep your dog in the yard.  Period.
  6. With us, you are working with a locally, family owned and operated company that has the backing of a National company.  This really offers you the best of both world.
  7. With a professionally installed system, you know you will receive an installation done right the first time with all the proper tools.  There is nothing worse than starting a job and realizing you need to go back to the store to get another tool, especially an expensive one.
  8. Our receivers are not only adjustable by you, but they are also intended and able to be adjusted to each dog.  Correction levels should vary by dog based on size, temperament, and hair.
  9. We offer to-your-door customer service.  Are you ready to deal with a purchase such as this ONLY with phone support and mail?  What if you have problems?  What if something doesn't work?  What if your dog reacts badly?  What then?  
  10. We meet our customers (both two and four legged) face-to-face and know them.  We do business with them.  They are our friends.  We appreciate those people that do business locally and try to do the same ourselves. 

An underground pet containment system may sound like an easy DIY project, but there are many, many things that could go wrong.  Leave this purchase to the professionals to make sure that both you and your dog have a pleasant and uneventful experience.  We've had many, many customers tell us this is the best money they have ever spent.  Let us prove it to you too.  We haven't won all these awards for nothing!  Contact us today for a free in-yard estimate.

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We have earned the service industry-coveted 2012 Angie’s List Super Service Award, an honor awarded annually to approximately 5 percent of all the companies rated on Angie’s List, the nation’s leading provider of consumer reviews on local service companies.  We couldn't be happier or more proud of our accomplishment.

“It’s a select group of companies rated on Angie’s List that can claim the exemplary customer service record of being a Super Service Award winner,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “Our standards for the Super Service Award are quite high. The fact that DogWatch of Columbus earned this recognition speaks volumes about its dedication providing great service to its customers.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2012 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, including earning a minimum number of reports, an excellent rating from their customers and abiding by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality. Members can find the 2012 Super Service Award logo next to company names in search results on AngiesList.com.

Check our our testimonials page to see why our customers know we deserve this prestigious award.  And please contact us if you have any questions or would like a free in-yard estimate.

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We hear often that the underground fence is "one of the best investments" our customers have ever made (don't believe me, check out our testimonials page).  But now the tricky part begins.  How to choose what type of system and who to install it for you?  Obviously we hope you choose us, but we recognize there are other options out there.  Here's are attempt to give you a list of questions you should definitely ask of any company that comes out for an estimate or when comparing store bought brands.

What is the warranty policy on the equipment?

Your best (and in our mind only) answer to this question is a lifetime warranty that absolutely must include dog chews.  The collar that your dog wears will take a beating everyday.  It will be exposed to all elements, lots of dirt and everyday use.  Over time, it is possible that something will happen to the collar, so don't you want to be able to make a phone call for a new one?  So that's the second part of this answer - make sure warranty returns are easy and painless to accomplish.

Another question regarding the warranty.  Is it a national warranty program or will the warranties be voided when you move?

 

Battery Questions are Threefold.

First question, what is the expected battery life? The longer the better for your dog's safety, for your convenience, and for substantial cost savings.  Our batteries last 2 years, by the way.

Second question, are your batteries rechargeable? While at first this may seem the best option, rechargeable batteries should only be charged when the collar is completely dead.  It is absolutely unsafe to take the chance of having having your dog run free on an extremely low battery.  In addition, what is the procedure for replacing the rechargeable battery once it no longer charging?

Third question, are your batteries proprietary? If you can only purchase batteries through one source, you may want to rethink that decision.  Remember, competition keeps companies honest.

 

Safety Features (Beware of smoke and mirrors)

There are some features of a fence that are important and others that just try to look important that really don't matter.  In our opinion, here are the questions to ask that are truly relevant to your purchase.

Does your system run on a time delay, is it distance based or just give an immediate shock plus hang on time?

  • A time delay means that a certain amount of time will pass before the dog receives a correction, which is bad if the dog is running fast at the wire.
  • Distanced based means that there is an audible warning and if the dog is going slow, they have time to turn around before receiving a correction; however, if the dog is going fast at the wire, correction will begin immediately giving them a chance to u-turn back into the yard.  This is the type we have.
  • Immediate shock plus hang on time basically means the dog has no warning before they get a shock and may continue to receive a correction even if they head back into the yard (which could cause confusion over "safe" areas).

What kind of Surge Protection does your system offer? This question is important because you are going to have a copper wire buried around the perimeter of your house attached to your garage or sun room.  If lightning were to strike your yard, it COULD follow the wire into your house.  Surge protection helps to keep it outside of your house, so you are obviously looking for both internal and external surge and lightning protection. We offer this as well.

Do your collars have a battery indicator light? This simple little light just lets you know if the battery in the collar is okay or if it needs replaced.  A small addition to the equipment that provides big time peace of mind.

Is your equipment customer adjustable?

You are looking for a "yes" answer on this one.  Occasionally the system may need a bit of tweaking and what is more frustrating than paying a service call ($80 - $125) for someone to come out and be there for a total of two minutes.  Make sure you can adjust your own equipment and see what support they offer for over-the-phone or internet assistance.  If they do say "yes" ask them for a demo right there at the estimate.  The salesperson should bring all the equipment with him to the estimate so you know what you're buying.  Ask if you can do the adjustment yourself to see if you're comfortable with the procedure.

 

Are you a local company or a corporate company?

This answer is basically your preference.  Some people prefer big business and other people prefer supporting local.  Regardless, you want to ask:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • What brand of equipment do you install?
  • Affiliations that ensure they do quality work (BBB, Angie's List, local Chamber, etc)
  • If you move, will warranties follow you where you go?

 

Other questions to ask for things to look for:

  • What does your equipment look like? Hopefully they've brought for you to see and hold.
  • What is your service protocol? How much is a service call?  Why would I need a service call?  How long does it typically take for your to respond to my service request?  Stay away from the additionally charged service plan anyone may offer you up front (or at least read the small print).  It is unlikely you're going to have a problem with the fence in the first year and if you do, be sure the type of problems you may have (digging in a garden or edging) are covered under that plan.
  • What is your company's training protocol? Just make sure you're comfortable with what the company offers.
  • Is there a performance guarantee? If not, there should be.

Bottom Line

Do your research and follow your gut.  You are going to have this equipment for a long time and it's to be used to keep your four-legged family member safe.

 

Bravo if you made it to the end of this article!  If you have any questions or would like to set up a free-in yard estimate, just give us a call at 614-527-3799 or fill out a contact form.  And if you mention this blog post specifically at the estimate, we'll throw in a battery at no cost (a little reward for reading this far).

 

 

 

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DogWatch® products are protected under U.S. Patent Nos.: 5,353,744; 5,465,687; 6,079,367; 6,467,435; 6,360,698.© 2009 DogWatch Inc. All rights reserved. No photographs,illustrations or text can be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of DogWatch Inc.DogWatch Hidden Fences should not be confused with Invisible Fence® or Invisible Fencing® which are products and registered trademarks
of Invisible Fence, Inc.

DogWatch® Hidden Fences of Columbus serves Bexley, Blacklick, Columbus, Dublin, Gahanna, Galloway, Grandview Heights, Grove City, Groveport, Hilliard, New Albany, Reynoldsberg, Upper Arlington, Westerville, Worthington, Delaware, Galena, Lewis Center, Powell, Sunbury, Buckeye Lake, Granville, Heath, Johnstown, Newark, Pataskala, Choctow Lake, London, Mount Sterling, Plain City, West Jefferson, Marysville, Baltimore, Canal Winchester, Lancaster, Pickerington, Marion, Ashville, Circleville, Orient, Hideaway Hills, Logan, Maysville, And Rockbridge. Also included are Franklin, Delaware, Licking, Fairfield, Union, Madison, Marion, Hocking, and Pickaway counties.

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