A typical electric fence is a psychological barrier in the sense that the animal will touch the electric fence and become “trained” not to go near it.
When an animal comes in contact with an electrically charged fence wire, it will feel a shock because the electric current will pass through the animal to earth ground, thus completing the electrical circuit. If the animal and the ground terminal of the electric fence charger are not sufficiently grounded, the path of electric current cannot be completed and the animal will not feel the shock.
The fence must be well-designed and constructed to absorb some pressure from animals, snow and wind. The fence's charger, also known as an energizer, must have enough power for the length of the fence and for the animals being controlled.
Since the earth itself makes up half of the electric fence circuit, it is very important to have a properly installed ground circuit. In areas where poor soil and poor earth grounding conditions exist, a two-wire system can be used with one wire being electrically charged while the other wire acts as earth ground. This two-wire electric fence system is utilized when there are alternating “hot” and ground wires installed.
Also, the electrically charged fence wire must always be properly installed and not be allowed to come into contact with shrubs, tall grass, and any other conductive objects on a continual basis. Otherwise, the electric charge from the fence wire will lose its “shocking” power.
Regardless of what wiring system is utilized, ground rod(s) and their connection to the charger's ground terminal must always be used.