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About Mr. McGregor's Fence®
McGregor's Fence and Small Animal Control: Essay
Common Questions about the Fence
How an Electric Fence Works
Quote on Your McGregor Fence
Keeping out Deer
Keeping out Bears
Photos of Mr. McGregor's Fence®
Testimonials
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How An Electric Fence Works

An ordinary electric fence works like this: The fence charger's  positive (+ , active, red) terminal sends an electric charge out onto the electric fence wire.  The charge seeks a way to flow back to the charger's negative (- ground, green) terminal and thereby complete the circuit and restore the electrical balance. It is only when the circuit is completed by the animal and the charge flows through the animal's body that the animal gets a shock.
There are different routes the current can take on its journey from one terminal to the other. Two of those are shown below.

A Simple Electric Fence Installation Using Soil Moisture
The current sent onto the electric fence line by the positive (+) terminal finds no way to return to the negative (-) terminal; so it sits there, waiting, until an animal comes along and touches it. As soon as contact is made, the current flows through the animal, through the moisture in the soil, over to the ground rod, UP the ground rod, and over to the ground rod, thereby completing the circuit - and its journey.  This passage of the charge through the animal causes to the animal to feel a shock.

A Simple Electric Fence Installation on Very Dry Soil (Essentially No Soil Moisture) or Hard-frozen Ground

The current sent onto the electric fence line by the charger's positive (+) terminal finds no way to return the the negative (-) terminal; so it sits there, waiting, until an animal touches it. As soon as contact is made, the current begins to flow through the animal, through the grounding mesh lying on top of the soil, and through the wire connecting the mesh to the charger's negative (-) terminal, thereby completing the circuit. This passage of the charge through the animal causes to the animal to feel a shock.