People tend to think negatively about training your dog with an electric dog training collar but it can be very effective if done properly. It is very important to use a high-quality collar, you don’t want a cheap one that can short out and cause harm to your dog. Some of these collars are more effective than others, which is why it is so important that you take the time to see what all of your options are before making a final purchase. We have covered our top 5 picks below. All of our picks are high-end products, I wouldn’t feel right recommending any of the cheap electric collars.
What are Electric Dog Training Collars?
Electric collars fit around the neck of your dog, just like any other collar, and can either send a short shock or a sound to help get rid of the behavior you don’t want. There are a variety of different settings and features you can use with each collar.
Uses of Electric Collars
Electric collars have a wide range of uses. It’s not a one-purpose item. First, let’s delve into what they are. Electric collars can tend to be somewhat confusing since they go by several different names for basically the same type of training collar…such as shock collars, e-collars, and remote training collars.
What do they do?
It’s a pretty simple concept of what it does, the electric collar delivers short shocks of different strengths and lengths to your dog’s neck usually with a remote control. Some collars tend to have different ways to stop your dog’s bad behavior besides a shock, such as vibrations, beeps and scents. The feature set for electric collars can even be extended to using GPS and mapping capabilities.
What are they used for?
Pet Containment – You definitely want to keep your dog inside your property. You don’t want it wandering off, digging around in the neighbor’s garden, chasing cats, or running after cars. It could get hurt, run over, or cause damage to another person, animal, or property. If you put up an invisible fence, the electric collar will send a jolt whenever the dog tries to go outside the line. He’ll learn soon enough not to leave the property.
Excessive Barking – An electric bark collar will send a little jolt to your dog whenever he starts to bark. Some dogs are just awful with their barking. Some breeds are a lot more prone to barking than others. If he keeps barking, the intensity, duration, and force of the shocks can be increased automatically. In other words, you can set it to correct your dog in proportion to his barking.
Problematic Behavior – Some dogs have serious behavioral issues. They’re just too persistent and ingrained, and the only the way to reduce them is to administer consistent correction with a shock collar.
Protection – This is about protecting your dog from dangerous animals, rotten food, or even people. It can also save a little kitten from certain destruction.
How Do They Work?
They go by a lot of names – e-collars, shock collars, remote training collars, and more – and they are designed to function with the most basic type of learning in mind, called operant conditioning.
From a psychological point-of-view, the idea is incredibly simple. A dog has a behavior you’d like to limit or eliminate, and you administer positive punishment in order to do so.
What does “positive punishment” mean? The “positive” refers to the application, rather than the taking away, of a stimulus; the “punishment” part refers to the intended effect, which is stopping the bad behavior. Think about when a child misbehaves. His mother yells at him. That’s an example of positive punishment.
Back to the dog collar, it is made up of two electrodes (prongs) which touch the dog’s skin and transmit the electric shock from the device to the dog. It sounds a bit scary but done properly it really works well. Using the remote you can usually set the frequency, intensity, and duration of the shock. It does take some training with your dog to get the most out of the collar but should help you get rid of their bad behavior.
A shock collar can be stressful to a dog, but it can also save his life. After awhile, the shock collar won’t be needed at all. The dog will have learned not to run out into the street or wander into the neighbor’s yard.
Here’s a great video showing how to train your dog with an e-collar:
Are They Safe?
The shock that these collars produce is enough to get the dog’s attention and make them feel brief discomfort, but they do not cause any short or long term injuries if used properly. Numerous studies of the physical and psychological effects of electric collars have been done with little to no significant adverse results. For more information check out the Electronic Collar Manufacturers Association. If you are still unsure of using an electric dog collar then you might want to check them out. They are tasked to make sure that the collars are safe and humane following the Animal Welfare Act.
What To Look For When Buying Training Collars
Intensity settings: Look for several different intensity settings since you don’t know how well your dog will react to the shock. Sometimes very low intensity works well, but on other dogs it doesn’t change the behavior.
Continuous Stimulation vs. Momentary stimulation: You will find that some of these collars use continuous stimulation, which is when the owner can hold down the button to produce a shock for five seconds at a time, whereas collars that use momentary stimulation only produce a small, brief shock no matter how long the owner holds down the button.
Build: You want a collar that will last for a long time and be durable. The last thing you want is for your collar to malfunction or break while using it. It also helps, especially when hunting, to get one that is waterproof. Yes, these tend to be more expensive but shock collars are something you don’t want to skimp on quality.
Two Distinct Types of Electric Collars
Bark Control Collars – Bark collars are electric dog collars that have been designed for the purpose of stopping your dog from excessively barking. It delivers a shock, just like the other collars, but the difference is in how it is activated. With bark collars, they are activated typically by vibration or even a microphone. The more expensive models will use both to get as accurate as possible.
Training Collars/Remote Collars – Training collars are a more “hands on” approach to teach your dog how to do certain things. By “hands on” I mean you will be operating it through a remote control and you will determine when to give a brief shock to your dog to correct the bad behavior.
Four Major Benefits of Training Collars
Training collars do have a lot of negativity surrounding them but the benefits can outweigh the downsides. Yes, you will find a lot of different opinions about this but they can be helpful. Here are some of the most popular benefits.
Stop your dog from barking excessively – Some dogs just can’t stop barking. They bark at everything. They bark throughout the day. They bark throughout the night. They’re just too noisy to keep in the house. The shock collar gives you a way to reduce or eliminate their barking so they can live with you in peace.
Save money on a dog behaviorist – An electric dog collar can save you a lot of money on a dog trainer, dog training service, or dog behaviorist. You can train your dog at home yourself. Why spend thousands of dollars on a dog trainer?
Keep your dog on your property – Running through the neighborhood and onto roadways can be very dangerous for not only your dog but anyone else around. The last thing you want is for your dog to bite a child, get hit by a car, or even get into fights with other dogs. A very well trained dog is a safe dog, not only for itself but others too.
Keeps your dog well-behaved – Dogs are great to have when they are behaving properly. We all know how it’s like to be around a dog that isn’t well-behaved. It’s not a very enjoyable time and no one wants their dog to be THAT dog!