There is a huge difference between walking a polite pup or an overly disobedient one. Dog training collars can help you teach good behavior to your furry companion, but only the top-rated ones can guarantee your pet’s safety.
These devices, also known as electronic collars, are developed to help you control your dog from a distance. They consist of two parts, a receiver placed on a strap that goes around your pup’s neck and a transmitter that acts as a remote control.
The simplest models have one operating mode; the receiver produces a burst of static shock when you press the button on the transmitter. This unpleasant shock helps you to correct negative behavior or teach your dog to obey.
For instance, if you use the device when your pup is doing something inappropriate, such as barking or digging flowers, he will associate the action with the unpleasant feeling, and will hopefully stop doing it.
The same goes if you use the device when calling your dog if you have a stubborn pooch that ignores you.
Because of the electric shock though, many animal-rights militants claim that using such a device is inhumane behavior from the dog owner’s side.
That’s why modern e-collars incorporate new features, such as beep and vibration modes. These allow you to choose from various types of stimulation. Both the audible signals and the vibrations are unpleasant to the dog too, and according to many owners, they usually work so well that you won’t have to shock the pooch at all.
Training modes apart though, there are many other features that can make or break the deal. One of the most important things to check is the design of the transmitter. Most devices come with separate mode buttons, but there are exceptions.
Using the same button to switch between modes could result in accidentally shocking your pup. We strongly suggest steering clear from these models.
Adjustable vibration and static levels are other important features. The latter is particularly important because a too high shock can harm the pet. Other essential features to consider are water resistance and range.
Dealing with so much information when choosing the right e-trainer for your pooch can be overwhelming. That’s why we did the hard work for you. We selected the best models on the market, tested and rated them. Check out our shock collar reviews below to discover our top picks.
It is ideal for most breeds and connects to up to 9 receivers. Three training modes and a range of 330 yards make it the perfect tool to control your pack.
The Easy Educator is perfect for extreme outdoor training at distances up to half a mile. 5 static modes help you train even the most stubborn pup.
Best Dog Training Collar Reviews & Comparison Table
Deciding which products were worthy of making it to this guide wasn’t easy. The market offers a bountiful range of dog training collars.
To trim off products and select the best of the best, we evaluated their water resistance, training modes, number of channels, as well as usability, functionality, suitability for most dogs, and safety.
We also considered the presence of an LCD screen and overall comfort for both pet and owner. The table below highlights our evaluation results for each of the collars in this guide.
|PRODUCT||RATING||PRICE||WATER RESISTANCE||LSD DISPLAY||RANGE||TRAINING MODES||SUITABLE FOR DOGS IN POUNDS||NUMBER OF DOGS||USABILITY||DOG COMFORT||FUNCTIONALITY||SAFETY|
|Easy Educator||Best Overall||9.5||Average price||Waterproof||✔||1/2 miles||5||5+lbs||Up to 4||9||10||10||10|
|Dogtra 1900S||Best Quality||9.4||High price||Waterproof||✔||3/4 mile||3||35lbs+||2||10||9||8||10|
|DOG CARE||Our choice||9.3||Average price||Waterproof||✔||330||3||10-120 lbs||9||10||8||10||10|
|Educator E-Collar||9.2||High price||Waterproof||✔||1/2 - 3/4 mile||3||5lbs+||1-2||8||9||9||10|
|Dogtra iQ Plus||9.1||Average price||Waterproof||×||400 yard||3||10lbs+||2||9||8||9||10|
|PetSpy||9.0||Average price||Waterproof||✔||650 yards||3||10-120lbs||2||6||10||10||10|
|Dogtra Super X||8.9||High price||Waterproof||✔||1 mile||3||20+lbs||1||10||8||10||10|
|Pet Resolve Training system||8.8||Average price||Waterproof||✔||3/4 mile||3||15+lbs||3||9||8||9||9|
|Petrainer||7.5||Average price||Rainproof||✔||330 yards||3||15+lbs||2||10||4||6||10|
|VINSIC||7.5||Low price||Waterproof||✔||990||3||10-110 lbs||1||10||8||4||8|
|Patpet||7.0||Average price||Waterproof||✔||1000||3||8.8 to 88 Ibs||2||6||10||4||8|
Easy Educator 1/2 Mile Dog Training System
The Easy Educator Dog Training System is developed to bring instant satisfaction to aspiring dog trainers and is the best dog training collar you can get. It packs state-of-the-art features that help you educate your pooch quickly and is very easy to use.
The device suits dogs of 5 pounds or over and has a range of half a mile. An adjustable stimulation level that ranges from 0 to 100 addresses all canine personalities, helping you deal with a more docile or stubborn dog alike.
Two of the most valuable features this product incorporates are the Lock-and-Set and Instant Stimulation modes; both developed to keep the pup safe. The former prevents accidental over-stimulation, while the latter maintains the impulse clean and avoids the annoying head jerking.
Besides stimulation, the collar transmits a tapping sensation too, and intense vibration intended to increase the trainer’s efficiency.
Easy Educator is also designed for easy use, at least after the tricky stage of programming it. It has an ergonomic and intuitive design that fits beautifully in the palm of your hand. Fingertip-placed controls and thumb dial let you adjust stimulation level quickly whenever needed. However, the trainer’s rather complicated for a simple device and it may take you a while to customize it for your dog.
Despite this small drawback though, if you like relaxing evening strolls, you’ll also like the backlit LCD screen that displays the trainer’s setting and battery level.
Effective in educating your pooch in less than one week, this device is perfect for boundary training as well as tempering aggressive behavior or any other situation that requires precise control. It’s also perfect for dog owners of all ages, and especially for the elderly who can’t keep up anymore with their pooch’s level of energy.
And if your dog is the adventurous kind, the integrated tracking light controlled by the transmitter will help you find your fur baby even in the dark.
Perfect for all dog owners, the Easy Educator system is expandable for up to four dogs and allows you to set different stimulation levels for each of your pooches.
- 1/2-mile range
- 7 vibration and 4 tone setting modes
- Adjustable stimulation level
- Expandable system
- Boosted stimulation feature
- Easy to charge via USB
- Ergonomic transmitter design
- Titanium contact points for sensitive dogs
- Miniature collar receiver
- Belt clip
- Unsuitable for smaller dogs
- Hard to program
- Batteries drain out quickly
If you are looking for a highly effective collar that does not compromise on quality, then this product is just for you. The manufacturer has taken into account the pros and cons of their previous products and amped it with the latest technology and features, guaranteeing you and your pooch a hassle-free experience.
This collar’s ergonomic design allows it to comfortably wrap around your dog’s neck. Along with the receiver, it is also IPX9K waterproof certified. This makes it incredibly durable to work within all indoor and outdoor activities.
The Dogtra 1900S offers a ¾ mile range, making it an ideal selection for complicated or straightforward training programs you may choose for your dog.
The stimulation control setting appears over a bright LCD for clear visibility. The screen has over 127 levels, so you can adjust and gradually increase in between levels with the Rheostat Dial precisely as per your desire.
Correction features for this collar come in two types. The first being a quick nick lasting for ½ a second, while the latter can remain constant up to 12 seconds. It also comes with a high-performance pager (HPP) guiding your dog while training in the form of vibrations.
According to customer reviews, this product is a bit high-end and can have a weak battery life; otherwise, it does not compromise on providing quality training without hurting your dog relative to cheaper versions of e-collars.
- Waterproof certified
- Easy display over the LCD screen
- Precise control
- Two-year warranty
- Reliable rheostat dial
- Ideal for all dogs
- Easy adjustment with sensor positioning
- Poor battery life
- Lack of tone
- Chipping of paint
DOG CARE Dog Training Collar
From all dog training collars out there, the one we like best is this one from DOG CARE. It’s perfect for mid-size to large breeds and incorporates a host of features for pet parents or sitters.
Whether you have a pack of dogs, a kennel, or walk multiple pets as a side job, this remote e-collar’s got you covered. It is expandable for up to 9 dogs, and you can customize each channel on the transmitter to the size of the pet.
Talking about customization, the feature we like best is the adjustable static level that goes from 0 to 99. Whether you have a 15-pound pup or a 100-pound one, you can simply adjust the signal intensity to avoid hurting your fur baby.
But the absolute best feature of this device is the incorporation of three training modes. The device gives you the possibility to educate your pooch by using either beep, vibration, and shock mode. This makes the DOG CARE one of the most ethical e-collars on the market and also one of the most effective. In fact, most dogs react so well to the audible and vibration modes that it’s highly unlikely to ever go past them.
Another great thing is that both the remote control and the receiver come with rechargeable batteries. The long battery runtime is a true lifesaver on those camping or tailgating weekends, with the receiver’s battery lasting for up to 15 days in standby mode.
The battery on the remote lasts even longer, and you can simply recharge them via USB from any USB device or wall outlet.
If you’re concerned about the receiver getting wet, know that there is nothing to worry about. You won’t have to stop Fido from enjoying a bath in the puddle right after the rain. In fact, you won’t have to worry about water at all, thanks to the IPX65 waterproof design of the receiver.
You’ll have to keep the remote control away from rain though, but that’s easy by simply slipping it into a bag if rain starts to pour.
Developed for pet owners, dog walkers, as well as professional trainers, this e-collar delivers multiple tools to improve canine behavior in the most humane way.
- 330-yard remote range
- Long battery life
- 3 training modes
- Expandable up to 9 dogs
- Adjustable static level
- Waterproof receiver
- Rechargeable batteries
- Security keypad lock
- 1-year warranty
- Unsuitable for small breed dogs
- Short signal range
- It can be difficult to adjust the length of the collar
This is a highly active dog training collar, with intricate features you can precisely set as per your dog’s training sessions. Possessing a small receiver for 5 pounds dogs or larger with a ¾ mile range one dog training system makes it comfortable for the trainer to train their dog from afar.
The new and improved feature offers a Pavlovian Tone where the dog hears a subtle tone along with stimulation, lasting until the button is released. Your pooch will eventually pick the pattern and respond accordingly. The stimulation levels ranging from 1-100 (with a boost stimulus of 1-60) deliver a tapping sensation making it more effective and more robust than the vibration that you can lock and set into place.
Unlike other dog collars, the clever stopwatch inspired design makes it easy for you to supervise your dog without looking at the transmitter for hours with its quick charge design.
With an average price range, the major drawback, however, is that the device is complicating in terms of usage and eventually ceases to work within a few months of purchase.
- Stopwatch design
- Pavlovian tone
- 2-year warranty
- Hassle-free experience
- Selecting tone OR vibration at once
- Hefty remote
- Poor working life
Dogtra iQ Plus
The Dogtra iQ Plus is tailor-made for small dogs weighing up to 10 pounds with its ultra-compact design, ideal for your small furry little friend. Made in South Korea and heading a customer service team in the United States, the product ensures reliability and crisp consumer experience.
Its single-handed operation feature allows you to choose from 100 stimulation and nick levels provide. It’s adjustable with a front-facing rheostat dial, ensuring a smooth training process. The nick levels can last anywhere between ½ a second to up to (a continuous setting) of 12 seconds, so you can handle your dog gently at ease.
The ‘no-look’ control design does not require you to hastily look for settings while you and your pooch are in action, making it work like a charm.
A unique feature of the Dogtra iQ, one that you can’t experience in the Dogtra 1900S, is that it offers a selector switch on the transmitter, allowing you to expand it to two dogs at once. Maximize obedience while making the most out of your training sessions.
Though the price is on the average, unfortunately, the stimulation unit is too hot, and you may easily mishandle it with a slight touch. You might even receive a strong reaction from your dog before reaching mid-level.
- Ultra-compact design
- One-handed operation
- Long battery life
- Wide array of stimulation levels
- Too hot (strong)
- Not suitable for dogs of all sizes
PetSpy P620 Dog Training Shock Collar
The PetSpy P620 is another remote e-collar that caught our attention. It comes with most of the features present on our top picks, it impresses with a range of up to 650 yards and is expandable for up to two dogs.
Perhaps the best feature is the remote control design. It is intuitive to use even when you’re not looking at it, thanks to the touch distinguishing buttons. You can decide whether to use an audible signal, vibration, or static stimulation to correct inappropriate behavior and will be able to switch between modes seamlessly.
The electric shock mode features 16 adjustable levels corresponding to different sensitivities and dog weight. However, it lacks the fine tune mode other trainers have, and you won’t be able to customize the intensity.
Suitable for smaller dogs too, this shock device fits pooches between 10 and 120 pounds. The design of the receiver is sleek, but not the most practical. Despite being adjustable, the rubber straps are not detachable and might not fit perfectly a too small or too large dog.
The device is waterproof and rechargeable. It has a decent battery life too, and you can charge both the transmitter and the receiver simultaneously with the split cable included in the pack. This training device is suitable for first-time users and expert trainers alike. It comes with a free training guide and a bunch of videos that show you how to make the best use of it.
Furthermore, the remote comes with a lanyard connector and belt clip, so that you can keep your hands free during walkies.
- Touch distinguish buttons
- Remote range up to 650 yards
- Suitable for smaller breeds
- 3 training modes
- Split cable for simultaneous charge
- Intuitive to use for first-time users
- Free dog training guide
- Lanyard connector and belt clip
- Safe to use on 10lbs dogs or larger
- The receiver is attached to rubber bands
- Could be ineffective on breeds with thicker fur
- Preset static stimulation levels
Dogtra D3500 NCP Super X Training Collar
The Doctra Super X is perfect for those who enjoy extreme training adventures out in the wild. It is particularly suitable for hounds and shepherd dogs, but this doesn’t mean you can’t make full use of its features even if you prefer walkies in the park.
This device comes with an abundance of features that make it a perfect system for users of all levels. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-time pet parent or seasoned trainer, you’ll likely enjoy the intuitive design of the remote.
Three buttons let you send the most appropriate impulse. The nick mode is great for quick corrections, while the constant stimulation mode is ideal for correcting major behavioral issues, such as aggression. However, most dogs respond well to just vibration, allowing you to limit the use of shocks.
You can check the stimulation level on the backlit LCD screen, while a battery indicator will let you know when it’s time to top it up with some energy.
What we like best is the uniquely designed toggle switch that lets you adjust the impulse intensity to fit your dog. Another great feature for the outdoorsy type that you will certainly appreciate is that both transmitter and receiver are fully waterproof.
The devices can handle whatever you’re throwing at them, be it heavy rain or a bath in the puddles. Thanks to its 127 levels of customizable static stimulation and 1-mile sight range, the Super X is also an ideal choice for training under pressure.
A slight drawback is the rubber strap that looks rather cheap. Luckily, the receiver is removable, and you can just change straps if the one it comes with doesn’t fit your pooch or if it breaks.
Another thing Super X misses is expandability. The manufacturer proposes an expandable alternative though, which could be a better choice if you have two pooches. Lastly, the Super X is not suitable for dogs weighing less than 20lbs.
- Long signal range
- Fully waterproof transmitter and receiver
- 127 levels of customizable static stimulation
- For dogs 20lbs and over
- Backlit LCD screen
- Simple transmitter design
- Free e-collar training manual
- Perfect for extreme outdoor training
- Battery level indicator
- The system is not expandable
- Flimsy rubber strap
- Unsuitable for small dogs
Pet Resolve Training system
The Pet Resolve Training system is an excellent all-around hunting standard product that ticks all the boxes for dog owners and trainers alike. Suitable to train up to three dogs when you purchase extra collar receivers, this is a superb option for someone with one or multiple dogs.
The technology built into this training system is second to none, Pet Resolve have left no stone unturned in the designing of this product which has impressed us to no end. A great feature to start with is the No Standby Mode, which means the system is always ready to correct your dog instantly without lagging.
The basic features found on this E collar are similar to most, with a warning beep, 10 levels of vibration, and shock making it ideal for dogs of all sizes, although if you do not like to use a shock function Pet Resolve have you covered here too, as they include blanking prongs to remove the shock to ensure you do not accidentally shock your dog.
Pet Resolve has made this system incredibly easy to use so the customer can charge it up and it’s ready to go. The receiver collar comes paired to the remote, which has a button for the warning beep, vibrate, and shock modes that you push to apply the function. There is then an up and down button to set the level of intensity of the function and buttons numbered 1,2 and 3 to switch to each dog if you have more than 1. This system also has built-in memory so if you switch to another dog the intensity will be automatically changed to what has been set, same for if you turn it off then on again it is ready to go where it left off.
This is a hunting standard collar that comes with a 3/4 of a mile range and a LED night mode so you can train your dog in the dark with no fear of losing sight of it. The receiver is fully waterproof too, whilst the remote is splash-proof so you can be assured this product will not let you down in harsh conditions or if you have a pooch that loves to swim.
Pet Resolve has added an Anti Bark mode which when switched on will automatically issue a warning beep then if the dog continues to bark for 2 seconds after, will issue a shock to the level you set on the remote before switching it to Anti Bark. One thing to note is when in Anti Bark, the remote will not work as it is an automatic correcting mode.
There are extra-long prongs included with this set so you won’t have to trim the coat of your dog regardless of the length, as well as a clicker included with the set and Pet Resolve honors a 2-year warranty for all products.
- 3/4 mile range
- LED night mode
- Waterproof robust design
- Anti Bark Mode
- No standby mode
- Up to 3 dogs
- 10 levels of shock and vibration
- Extra-long prongs for great contact
- Removable shock
- Night Time Training Light
- Hunting standard
- Swim Safe
- Optional Shock
- Expandable up to 3 dogs
- Rapid 2 hour charge
- Easy to use
- Incredible value for money
- 2-year warranty
- Lanyard Included
- Collar strap requires cutting to fit your dog
- For dogs over 15lbs
Petrainer knew exactly how to match features with an attractive budget, delivering a product that brings excellent value for money. Their remote dog trainer has a simple design that caters to most pet parents.
Three modes help you choose the right level of stimulation for your pooch, including a standard tone mode, vibration, and static stimulation. A customizable intensity level from 0 to 100 will help you match the static stimulation level with the size of your pet.
The actual collar this trainer comes with is suitable for medium to large breeds, but the receiver is removable, and you can place it on another line if your pup is smaller than 15lbs. It’s perfect to use in open spaces as long as the distance between transmitter and receiver is not greater than 330 yards.
Another awesome feature is the presence of conductive silicone prongs on top of the metal ones. This makes the product perfect for dogs suffering from skin allergies or who are sensitive to nickel, as the silicone causes no irritation.
A thing we like a little less is the poor waterproofing. While the receiver will resist showers, it won’t resist water immersion, so you won’t be able to use it at the beach.
The transmitter design is also not one of the best. It is ergonomic and comfortable to hold, but a tad complicated to use. Switching between modes takes a little longer than imagined, and this won’t be of much help when you have to train a stubborn pup.
Nevertheless, the beep and vibration modes are usually sufficient to correct behavioral issues including furniture chewing or barking. The beep mode can also replace the traditional clicker, helping you gain the pup’s attention and give it a command.
Greatly priced and effective, the Petrainer PET998DRU undoubtedly deserves the title of the best value pick.
- 3 training modes
- 330-yard signal range
- Rechargeable batteries
- Auto-protection mode
- Expandable up to 2 dogs
- Long lasting battery
- Rapid charge time
- Adjustable strap
- Expandable 1-year warranty
- Remote control looks rather cheap
- No separate-mode button
- Easy to shock your dog accidentally
VINSIC Dog Training Collar
Finding a stylish training collar that looks good on dogs of all sizes is near impossible, but luckily, there is VINSIC. This device impresses with a sleek, adjustable design. The rubber band fits dogs of most sizes, although it is more suitable for smaller dogs weighing over 10lbs and medium breeds.
Nevertheless, the compact receiver can be removed from the band and used with other collars on smaller dogs, as long as you don’t plan to use the static shock function or on big dogs. Besides static, the device also has vibration and beep mode which are proved to work excellently on dogs of all sizes, but that is particularly suitable for small breeds.
We also like the transmitter, which looks more like the last generation gadget than a remote control. Intuitive functions and separate buttons for each mode prevent over-stimulation and keep your pooch safe.
This device is expandable for up to two dogs, and you can check on the large LCD screen to whom you’re sending the signal.
Rainproof and easy to control at a distance of up to 330 yards, this e-collar is perfect for enjoying the outdoors while educating your fur baby. However, keep in mind that only the receiver is water-resistant and you’ll have to keep the remote dry at all times.
Both transmitter and receiver come with rechargeable lithium batteries. However, there have been complaints regarding the quality of the battery system; either the charger or the batteries start to fail after only months of use, but by this time, your pup should hopefully be trained.
Despite this small flaw, this is one of the best dog training collars for small dogs but versatile enough to use for all breeds between 10 and 100lbs; the VINSIC is a sleek, stylish, and simple to use solution for most dos owners.
- 5 intensity levels
- Adjustable strap circumference
- Rechargeable via USB
- Minimalist design
- Intuitive remote design
- Separate mode buttons
- Rainproof receiver
- It doesn’t resist well to wear and tear
- Expensive considering its resistance
- Small signal range
Patpet Dog Training Collar
The last e-collar that has made it to our list is this one from Patpet. It also boasts the three popular beep, vibration, and static shock modes and is suitable for dogs from 8.8 to 88lbs. The adjustable strap fits neck sizes between 2.8 and 24.4 inches, allowing most pet parents to enjoy its benefits.
It has a remote range of up to 330 yards and is waterproof. Just what it takes to enjoy the outdoors with your furry pal. Correcting behavior in all circumstances is also easy thanks to the intuitive design of the remote.
From a visual standpoint, the set impresses with sleek lines, while white stitches on the black nylon strap add the wow factor. A small receiver and stylish logo applied on top of it are other details that make this training collar attractive.
One system supports up to 2 dogs, but you’ll have to purchase a second receiver separately.
Moving on to the remote, we like that it’s simple to use and comes with separate mode buttons. This design helps prevent accidental shocking, and you’ll always be able to check to which pet you’re sending a signal on the large LCD screen.
A feature we miss is the illumination of the screen though, which makes it harder to educate your pooch in low light conditions.
Regarding educating modes, the system comes with 8 levels of vibration and 16 levels of static shock. Experience tells us that the vibration and acoustic modes work wonderfully on most dogs, and pet owners have only reported using slight shocks on particularly stubborn pets.
Made for outdoor use, the collar is also 100% waterproof and can be used in any outdoor area or weather conditions.
- Suitable for most dogs
- 330 yards remote range
- 8 vibration levels
- 16 static shock levels
- 2 dog channels
- Fully waterproof design
- Stylish receiver and collar
- Intuitive remote control
- 2-in-1 splitter charging cable
- 1-year replacement guarantee
- The batteries seem to fail quickly
- The strap is difficult to adjust for smaller breeds
- Easy to hit the wrong button
Dog Shock Collar Buying Guide & FAQ
How We Chose Our Selection of Dog Shock Collars
A shock collar is different than the simple line and leash you use for walkies. This one has a specific purpose, and the selection factors go beyond subjective considerations. All the devices that have made it to our list have been checked against the following criteria.
- Comfort – Regardless of its purpose, a collar must be comfortable for your dog. Too tight could choke him while too loose could let him break free. That’s why all shock collars on our list are adjustable and suitable for most breed sizes.
Trying to make your choice even easier, most models come with removable receivers so that you can use your preferred collar with the device.
- Reviews – The market offers a bountiful range of products, and it’s hard to decide which one really deserve your money. When deciding which products to focus on, we always check product reviews. Opinions from the people who bought and used the product before us are our most valuable resource. Based on these opinions, we trim off options and decide which products we want to test.
- Price – Finally, we always throw in the budget factor. It is hard to tell which is a fair price for a training collar. You may pay a hefty price on the last generation model only to find it is unsafe due to engineering or manufacturing errors. Or you could pay peanuts on one that does exactly what it says it does.
When evaluating price, therefore, we always consider the true value of a product by assessing its safety, effectiveness, overall user experience, and the actual amount charged by the seller. All training collars on the list above deliver excellent value for money.
Types of Dog Shock Collars
Many untrained dog owners believe all dog shock collars are the same. The truth is that there are three types you can choose from, each developed to serve a specific purpose.
Also known as remote collars or e-collars, these are the classic model we all instantly think about. They are inspired by the traditional collar design and consist of a strap that closes in a loop around your pet’s neck.
A receiver device mounted on the strap receives signals from a remote control operated by the trainer and transmits that signal to the dog in the form of an electric shock. That is if you have a primitive model with no other functions.
Modern models, in fact, can typically transmit three types of signals, an audible one, vibrations, or shock. These define the model’s modes, which are usually called Beep, Vibration, and Static.
When buying an e-collar, we strongly suggest getting one that comes with all three modes. Most pooches react surprisingly well to less harsh stimuli, such as sound and vibration, and there are high chances you will never have to use the shock mode.
The other part of the system is a remote control that transmits your commands to the receiver. Although the concept seems simple, you must pay particular attention to this component too.
Some remotes have only one button that allows you to switch between functions. Although at first glance they are the simplest to use, this is far from the truth. A single button translates into a higher chance of accidentally shocking your dog. It is also a hassle to switch between modes quickly in case of an emergency.
The best remotes are those that come with a button for each mode. If they are blind-coded, that’s even better, as you’ll know what button you’re pressing without taking the remote out of your pocket, not to mention this is a great solution for anyone who’s visually impaired.
These collars can be used to teach your dog obedience in open spaces, correct aggressive behavior, or in Schutzhund training.
The traditional devices described above are often advertised as an anti-barking solution, so why would you bother with specific anti-barking collars?
Well, this special category of shock collars is dedicated to those who have a very loud dog. If your pooch barks at everything and in the most inappropriate moments, these come as a solution to teach him proper behavior without hassle.
These devices consist of a receiver placed on a strap. This receiver is not controlled by a remote, but by a noise sensor placed within the receiver. Your dog’s bark activates it, and the receiver transmits an impulse to the dog.
In this case, too, the best devices have different modes, and you can choose from beep, vibration, or shock.
However, we wouldn’t recommend getting one of these unless they are truly your last resort, because the noise sensor inside them can be activated by any other loud noise. In other words, kids yelling, thunderstorms, cars passing by, and even other dogs barking can activate your pooch’s shock collar.
As a result, the pup will associate these noises to a negative reaction which could lead to other psychological and behavioral issues which are harder to fix.
Invisible Fence Collars
The last type is the invisible fence shock collars. Their design closely resembles the anti-barking one, and they come with similar modes and features. The difference is that the receiver is activated by signals transmitted by perimeter devices.
These are typically wires you place on the ground or wireless devices that confine a designated area. When your dog trespasses these devices, they transmit an impulse to the receiver, which then transmits it to the dog.
You can usually choose between the three popular modes beep, vibration, and shock, and they are great for keeping your dog safe either in your yard or in a camping area.
How Do Training Collars Work?
We briefly explained how training collars work, but there is more to know. To recap, these items are systems consisting of a transmitter and receiver, which then transmits an impulse to your dog.
The audible signals or vibrations work in any circumstances as long as your pooch is wearing the device. But for the shock to be effective, the receiver’s prongs must be in full contact with the pup’s skin.
There are two issues that can arise.
- On the one hand, the metal prongs may contain nickel, a metal that causes skin reactions and allergies in many dogs.
- On the other hand, the device could be ineffective if a too long fur prevents the prongs from touching the skin.
Luckily, there are some solutions to these problems.
If your dog is sensitive to nickel, you can either opt for a model with titanium prongs or buy conductive silicone covers for the steel prongs on your device.
If the problem is the fur, a visit to the pet groomer may help solve the issue. Before cutting your dog’s hair though, check if the collar fits snugly and adjust it if it’s too loose.
Purpose Shock collars: Does Pavlov’s name ring a bell?
Call it E-Collars or Training Collars, their purpose is the same: Create a stimulation to help your beloved dog learn which behaviors are bad or good. Despite the impression you get from the name, shock collars were never intended for punishment. Back in the 1950s when they were first invented, we used them to help train and condition dogs for hunting.
Conditioning is the keyword here, part of Dr. Ivan Pavlov’s theory when he rang a bell before feeding his dogs. After a while of doing this, whenever he rang the bell, the dogs would drool, associating the bell with food. With shock collars, and training in general, the principle is the same: have your dog associate the stimulation with bad behavior. Done consistently, they’ll stop that behavior. That’s not the whole story though, there’s more to using shock collars than simply pressing a button when your dog misbehaves.
Are Shock Collars Safe for Dogs?
This is a complex question with an even more complex answer. Theoretically, they are. Regulations in most countries around the world wouldn’t allow manufacturers to sell them if they weren’t. But this doesn’t mean they couldn’t harm your dog.
Most shock collars are developed for dogs of various sizes. Some receivers are deemed as suitable for all dogs, from Chihuahua to Great Dane. Now, it’s easy to understand that what works for one wouldn’t work for the other, and issues arise mainly for small and mid-size dogs.
In fact, a too powerful shock can burn your dog’s skin, cause severe internal damage, or even kill your pet.
Here are some tips for using a shock collar safely if you have a smaller dog:
- Only invest in items that allow you to set and lock the shock intensity level.
- Avoid models with one-button remotes, as you could shock the dog accidentally.
- Try to limit the use of the shock mode.
- Never use the shock mode when you are angry. These devices serve to educate your pup, not punish him.
- A model with unlimited shock adjustment options is better than one with preset levels.
- Match the collar with your pet’s weight; if your pet weighs less than indicated by the manufacturer, avoid buying the product.
Does it hurt my dog? The truth might not shock you.
Modern shock collars are designed with a vibrate function along with an electric pulse. These collars are often designed to have mild to heavy stimulation. We say stimulation, not an electric shock, because the collar is designed not to be painful when properly used. Think of the electric abdominal stimulators or energizers out there in the market. They’re designed to jolt your abs to tighten but not enough to cause any real pain unless you put it on high without getting used to the sensation first. With that frame of reference, a shock collar’s jolt is significantly lower. If you’re looking for numbers, the total energy output (voltage over time) or “Joules” of an Ab Energizer is at 0.09, whereas the highest levels of shock collars come at around 0.003. That’s 300 times less energy!
If you still have any doubts about it, try it yourself. Not on your neck of course, but place the prongs on your palm and adjust the remote to the lowest setting. You should feel a slight tingle when you press the remote, and as you keep raising it, it should start feeling like a prickly bug crawling on the spot. Higher levels may cause some pain but that depends on your tolerance. Man and their best friend have different pain tolerance, but it’s worth noting that modern collars have a wide range of intensities before it potentially becomes very uncomfortable for your companion.
Deterrent, not Punishment.
Going back to conditioning, shock collars should never be used for punishment. At its simplest, the collar is used to remotely catch the dog’s attention. It’s a tool that helps your companion sharpen their skillsets, respond to commands faster, and help them learn to be a better part of your household. For some dogs, a simple stern “No!” for bad behavior is enough, but all dogs are different, and sometimes, you need more than just a squirt of cold water to deter them from barking when they think the neighbors are up to no good.
Benefits of Using Training Collars for Dogs
Dog training collars can serve multiple purposes, from teaching obedience to correcting behavioral issues. You can use them for both puppies and adult dogs, provided that their specifications match your dog’s weight.
These devices are also particularly useful for adopted dogs who may have aggressiveness or temperamental issues.
Let’s have a look at what a training collar can do for you.
Pros and Cons of Using a Shock Collar
If you’re still undecided whether to use shock collars or not, here are some pros and cons that might help.
This is one of the main advantages of a shock collar. It can operate from a significant distance so while you’re on the second floor, you can remind your dog to stop barking at your “no-good” neighbors. They have a range of 30 to 400 yards, with some models reaching 1000+ yards. Other models even communicate with your smartphone to activate the collar even when you’re out of the house.
From Vibing to Pulsing
Like we said before, the collar has varying levels of stimulation, and some simply vibrate. It’s never meant to shock but instead to deliver enough energy to stimulate them. Bigger dogs may require higher levels before they respond, and others only need the lowest to get the point.
Compared to hiring a trainer or setting up fences, buying a shock collar is more affordable. However, you really can’t put a price on the bonding you’ll get with your furry best friend when you train with them.
It’s not just electricity anymore. Modern collars have some combination of features like Citronella Sprays, Vibration, Ultrasonic tones, and so on. These features are useful when you’re going to transition away from electric stimulation and into a more positive approach.
Painful (for you!)
Let’s face it, some of you can’t even imagine causing the slightest pain to your furry friend. Even if you had full control of the stimulation levels, we can’t ignore the fact that you’re using it to deter bad behavior. There are other ways to train your buddy, such as positive reinforcement ie. using treats, and asking who’s a good doggy when said doggy was good.
Making them fear you
This is the last thing we want our dogs to feel. Regardless of how tough training can be like with police dogs, it’s always approached with love and camaraderie. Fear in dogs can be dangerous. If the collar is used improperly, the fear you cause to your pets can produce worse behavior.
Everything has to be used in moderation, and the overuse of shock collars can confuse your dog. They may not be afraid sure, but they can get confused on which behavior is bad or good. Sometimes, owners can end up correcting their companions for behaviors or problems they wrongly assumed.
Lack of Positive Reinforcement
The shock collar is not the whole tool. It must be paired with positive reinforcement. Without the right amount of reward for good behavior, your companion may be house trained, but they might not listen to your commands.
Stops Your Dog From Jumping
We’re sure you love it when your pup jumps from joy when you finally get home after a long day. But neighbors, guests, and even strangers in the park may not appreciate your pooch’s enthusiasm the way you do.
Even the friendliest dog can scare a kid or someone with a phobia. Your dog jumping on people after he just enjoyed a roll in a swampy puddle can also be a problem.
A remote training device can help you get rid of this behavior. Start with the beep mode and see how Fido reacts. Switch to vibration if beep mode is ineffective, and use shock as a last resort if nothing else worked.
Reduces Your Dog’s Barks
Barking is to a dog what speaking is to humans, but there are way too many pups that can become overly excited and bark at even the slightest moves. Such as a leaf falling off the tree, a squirrel passing by, the postman, and sometimes just because it’s raining.
Excessive barking is a behavioral issue you can correct with a training device. However, pay attention to when you use it.
If you use it too often, you may trigger psychological issues in your dog. That’s why it is important to learn why your dog is barking and how to recognize his different types of barks.
Most commonly, barking happens because of:
- Territorial or alarm reasons
- Attention seeking
- Illness or injury
- Separation anxiety
- Other dogs’ barks
Because anti-barking devices are seen by your dog as punishment, it is recommended to avoid using them unless it’s compulsiveness or socially-facilitated barking. In all other cases, suppressing your dog’s barking would leave him with no way to communicate fear or anxiety.
If excessive barking is caused by anything else except compulsiveness and other dogs barks, you should seek professional help from a trainer or dog psychologist.
If you decide to use a collar to reduce barking, know that the beep function may be useless, especially if barking is socially-facilitated. Vibrations and shock are much more effective, and there are also some anti-barking devices that spray citronella on your pup whenever he is too loud.
Prevent Destructive Behaviors
One of the biggest benefits of shock training devices is the possibility to prevent destructive behavior. This is especially true in young dogs as well as some adopted dogs who have not been properly trained.
Destructive behavior includes chewing carpets or furniture, digging holes, chewing or eating houseplants, and other voluntary actions that end with the destruction of an item.
Destructive behavior is not only annoying – and often even costly – for you. This behavior is potentially harmful to your dog. For instance, many houseplants are poisonous. Paint products used on furniture may also be highly toxic.
To correct this behavior, it is once again recommended to start from the beep mode and work your way up to shock, based on your pup’s reaction to stimuli.
Perhaps the primary reason why dog owners consider getting a shock device is aggressive behavior. Dogs can become aggressive in many circumstances, such as:
- Food aggression
- Territorial aggression
- Aggression versus another dog
- Aggression versus other animals
- Aggression versus humans
If the dog is young, it is usually easy to treat aggression with a shock collar, and in most cases, the beep and vibration functions are enough to teach your pup etiquette.
In aggressive adult dogs though, a shock may temporarily solve the issue but the pain arrived from nowhere can cause further anxiety and aggressiveness. If you adopted a dog who is aggressive, we recommend talking to a trainer before using a shock collar.
How to Properly Use Shock Collars
Fitting and Normalizing the Collar
Ideally, you want the collar to fit comfortably, but with the prongs still making contact with the dog’s skin. Tighten it to the point where you can loosely put one or two fingers in.
The goal of the first part is to let your dog get used to the collar. Place them on your dog but don’t trigger it yet. Let them do normal doggy stuff with it, play with them, take a walk with them. This way you also prevent making them “collar-wise”, which means they will only behave while they wear the collar.
Normalizing goes both ways. You need to remind yourself that the collar is a tool to help your dog focus, deter bad behavior, and never for punishment. After a week or so, you can start the second part of the training.
Name-Command-Signal and The Three C’s
Consistency plays a huge role here. Your communication must follow a certain order of actions to help your dog understand you better. It goes something like: Your dog’s name, the command, then the hand signal. When they can’t focus or do something else, you then use the collar to get their attention. Once you have their attention back, repeat these three things until your dog does it consistently. Another method is to hold down the stimulation until your dog properly completes the task, but that’s only if the former doesn’t work.
Like we said before, the collar is only part of the whole thing. We have the Collar, Communication, and finally, the Commendation. Commending, or praising and giving rewards, fortifies good behavior with just about anyone, man or animal. When your dog follows your command, you give them a treat, a pat on the head, and let them know how proud you are.
A basic example of these methods would be commanding your dog to come to you. You call their name, tell them to come to you, and use your hand signal of choice. When they go anywhere else, use the collar but only to a point where you get their attention, then repeat N-C-S. When they approach you, you commend them and repeat the process until they do it swiftly and consistently.
Detering Problematic Behavior and Other Uses
Dogs do doggy stuff like bark at nothing, chewing on furniture, and harassing the cat for kicks. Use the collar until they stop, along with the command to stop. When they do stop, make sure to praise them for stopping so they know what they did was good.
Shock collars are also a handy tool in sending signals swiftly and quietly. Collars with vibrate functions and other low-level stimulation can be used for agility training to signal dogs when to turn, jump, etc. It can also be used for hunting to signal dogs without yelling or making any hand signals.
The most important use for these collars is for specialty jobs like bomb-sniffing dogs, police, military, and rescue. These jobs are dangerous so they require high-level training. Shock collars take these kinds of training to the next level.
Transition to Positive Reinforcement
As your relationship with your dog strengthens, along with their loyalty and trust, commanding them and further training won’t require that much deterrence. They already know which behaviors are bad and they understand the way you communicate. All you should need at this point is to give them praise, a treat, and of course, plenty of love.
Other Tips for Usage
- Don’t leave the shock collar for too long. If you don’t need the collar, you can replace it with their usual collars.
- Rotate the collar on your dog’s neck every 2-3 hours to prevent pressure sores.
- After every use, check your dog’s skin for any damages and clean the contact points.
- Again, do not use strong shocks for punishment, especially doing it at random.
- To find out which setting is the best for your dog, start at the lowest setting and gradually go up until you see them mildly confused.
- Always be there when using the shock collars so you can see the effect on your dog to minimize the required stimulation.
Dog Shock Collars Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do Shock Collars Work on Aggressive Dogs?
A: Shock collars can usually stop aggressive behavior in dogs on the short-term, but they may or may not be effective in long-term training. Their effectiveness depends on many factors, including your dog’s temperament and the way you use the collar.
Q: Where Do You Put a Shock Collar on a Dog?
A: You should place the receiver under the dog’s chin, making sure it fits snugly around his neck. In this way, the collar will not slide due to gravity, and it has fewer chances of getting loose. The prongs are also less likely to cause injuries due to the softness of the tissue. Furthermore, this is where dogs usually have thinner hair, allowing for better contact between the prongs and the skin.
Q: Can Dogs Swim with a Shock Collar?
A: Yes, as long as the collar is waterproof. You must pay attention to devices rated as rainproof, showerproof, splash-proof, or water resistant. As their names suggest, these devices only resist splashes of water and rain, but they will not withstand immersion.
However, some manufacturers may use the term water resistant to indicate that the device is actually waterproof. The safest way to know if the dog can swim with the device is by checking the IP rating.
The IP code describes the resistance to solid particulate and liquid ingression, and only those collars with IP67 or over are waterproof. Below that rating, the device may be water resistant but not suitable to be submerged.
Q: How Much Range is Needed for a Remote Training Collar?
A: It depends on the collar. They usually range from 330 yards to a mile or more. If you have specific requirements, check the product’s specs to make sure it meets your needs.
A thing to keep in mind though is that all ranges provided by manufacturers refer to ideal conditions, which means the range is measured in a straight line and with no obstacles between the remote and the receiver.
Obstacles such as trees, fences, windows, and walls may hinder communication between devices and significantly reduce range.
Q: Will the Electric Stimulation From a Shock Collar Hurt My Dog?
A: Yes. The electric stimulation provided by the shock produces pain, which means it will always hurt your dog, even if only slightly. Shock devices are often described by professional trainers as methods of punishment due to this reason.
However, if you use the device on the right setting and don’t exceed the stimulation level indicated by the producer, the pain your dog will feel is comparable with a pinch on your arm.
Since many pup parents and trainers use some form of pain to correct behavioral issues, using a shock collar wouldn’t be more inhumane than that.
What Dog Collars Are Best for Schutzhund Training?
Schutzhund training, also known as IPO, is a challenging but beautiful three-part sport consisting of tracking, obedience, and protection training.
The sport has been originally designed for the German Shepherd breed to ensure it retained the genetic traits that make it so unique.
Over time, it has grown into a popular sport in which pups and their owners get a chance to learn how to work as a team.
Those who decide to practice it professionally can attend national and international competitions, including the WUSV world competition regulated by FCI.
You need the best tools and means to turn your pup into a Schutzhund champion though. Besides regular lines and leashes, one of the most controversial topics among trainers regards the choice of the collar. Your options include:
- Prong collar
- Electric shock collar
Trainers have a love-hate relationship with both, but which should you pick?
- Prong collars: Consist of links with prongs (pinches) on them. They are an invaluable tool when walking a pup, as they stop pulling and lunging behavior. They work in a similar fashion for Schutzhund training too. You will have to keep the dog on a leash though.
- Electric shock devices: Are the ones described in this guide, and their biggest advantage is that you can use them remotely.
The electric shock devices are undoubtedly the best collars for Schutzhund training. As mentioned above, its biggest advantage is that you can use it remotely. It can help with distance commands including recalls and positions and removes the hand correction elements which can create confusion in the dog when used in this type of training.
Compared to the prong type, shock devices also gives you options as in what stimulation means. Many dogs respond very well to acoustic and vibration stimuli, and none of these produces pain. As such, using an electric device could be a more humane way of conducting Schutzhund preparation.
You can also use such a device to train your pup to respond differently to different stimuli. For instance, you can use sound to generate excitement and vibration to suppress it or vice versa.
Regardless of which collar you decide to use, it is important to speak to a trainer before using it and only introduce it to the pup when he’s the right age.
A trainer can also give you advice about negative reinforcement, which is a positive trait in Schutzhund training but that could jeopardize your educative efforts if you plan to use the collar to correct behavior in a home pet.
In broad lines, it is generally recommended to introduce your dog to the shock device after the age of 6 months. By this time, your dog should be sufficiently independent. Introducing it earlier could also come with more negative than positive effects.
In fact, the collar may trigger anxiety or induce aggression caused by the fact that the dog doesn’t know where the pain comes from.
Using a shock device too early may also cause the dog to develop fears of objects, places, people, or other animals if he associates pain with any of these.
As long as you keep all this in mind and follow professional advice in using shock devices, a dog training collar is undoubtedly your best ally towards successful Schutzhund training.
If you’re not into Schutzhund training but just want to educate or correct bad behavior in your dog, this instrument can also serve you good as long as you don’t exaggerate with using the shocks and don’t fall into the trap of using the collar as punishment.