Beginner’s Guide to Choosing the Right E-Collar for Dogs

Last Updated on July, 2024

With an ocean of options, it’s not easy to find great E-collars by merely looking at the customer reviews. Some can be great, and some can be downright dangerous. 

In the world of dog training, choosing the right E-collar is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration. 

This beginner’s guide aims to navigate you through the maze of choices and help you make an informed decision.

Beyond the surface-level information provided by customer reviews, we will explore the key factors that determine the safety, effectiveness, and suitability of an E-collar for your furry companion. 

By understanding these essential considerations, you can confidently select an E-collar that aligns with your dog’s needs and ensures their well-being during training sessions.

Quick Summary

Some important factors to consider when selecting an e-collar include type and intensity of stimulation, range, adjustability, waterproof capability, and the age and sensitivity of your dog.

Understand factors that determine the safety, effectiveness, and suitability of an e-collar for your dog.

E-collars can be a useful tool for enhancing communication with your dog, stopping excessive barking, promoting stress-free training, and providing control over your dog. However, they should be used in combination with positive reinforcement and should be introduced to the dog at an appropriate age.

What is an E-Collar?

Pitbull dog wearing a training collar

A dog training collar, often called a remote training collar, includes a remote transmitter a dog owner carries. On the other hand, the receiver collar is placed on the dog’s neck and contains two contact points for stimulating the dog. 

It sends mild electronic signals stimulating the dog’s nerve receptor through strong vibrations or ‘shocks,’ as some refer to it when your dog feels that vibration, it causes them to control their behavior. 

Why Does Your Dog Need an E-Collar?

Training single or multiple dogs to behave well by getting them to respond to even basic commands can be an uphill battle in most circumstances. As dog owners, we all have been there, and I’m sure you too.

However, with the help of dog training collars, you can overcome these challenges and enjoy a stress-free, smooth training experience with your dog.

Here are 5 benefits that a dog training collar has in store for you:

  • Enhanced communication: With the remote training collar, you can send signals even from a distance without raising your voice.
  • Stop excessive barking: If your dog has a habit of barking unnecessarily, you can use the e-collar to reinforce no-barking.
  • Stress-free training: As a dog owner, you’ll worry less as your dog’s bad behavior disappears.
  • Faster reinforcement of commands: Since the dog training collars send mild electrical signals to the training collar, the dog responds more quickly than with manual commands.
  • Control over the dog: Even when aroused in front of other people or animals, E-collar gives them great control. 

First Things to Know Before Purchasing an E-Collar

dogs wearing collar and sitting

The following are the major features of a remote training collar that would help you enjoy a remarkable training session with your dog:

Stimulation Levels

Most remote dog training collars support these 3 types of stimulations:

  • Static stimulation: When you activate via the remote control, it produces a mild electric shock to the dog. Ideal for correcting undesired behavior.
  • Vibration stimulation: When you activate a button, your handheld remote delivers a signal to your dog’s receiver collar, which will correct it. Ideal for sensitive and deaf dogs.
  • Tone stimulation: The tone is a light sound that the e-collar generates when you press the tone button on your remote. It’s used to train small dogs.

Most top-notch dog training collar brands offer all the 3 stimulations mentioned above. While others also have the voice option, which sends a pre-recorded message to your dog. 

So if a dog training collar offers the first 3 tones, it’s more than adequate to satisfy your needs.

Adjustable Intensity Levels

Ensure that you pick a dog collar with adjustable intensity levels for each type of stimulation level except the sound. When there are more intensity level options, it gives you a chance to experiment with what suits your dog best. 

For larger dog breeds, check the strength of the static stimulation level. Because if it’s too weak, it’s not suitable.

Safety of the Collar

Your dog’s safety is the primary concern for any professional dog trainer like myself.

Here is another feature that I would inspect in a shock collar in order to select the right collar:

  • Safety stimulation lock: If your collar has a safety stimulation lock, it prevents unintentional alternation to the stimulation levels during dog training. It’s a handy feature, as accidental changes to stimulation may shock the dog unnecessarily.

Remote Trainer Matching the Dog’s Size and Breed

If the collar does not fit your dog correctly, it will be ineffective as the stimulation may be applied unevenly.

Your dog can become puzzled about what you want them to perform. Meanwhile, a tight collar might irritate your dog’s skin and put the dog at risk of clogging.

Secondly, if your dogs have thicker coats, remember to check the prongs of E-Collars’ receivers.

It is preferable to get e-collars with longer contact points to ensure that the prongs receive the signals correctly.

Read more about how tight an e-collar should be on a dog here.

A dog wearing training collar and sitting

Extensive Adjustability

With the collar size comes another important aspect: the adjustability of the collar. It will be great if your collar is adjustable.

You can adjust most training collars in the market. The straps have various holes where you can alter the dog collar’s buckle. Additionally, You can use a marker or your finger to mark the position of the holes as you measure the dog’s lower neck.

Effectiveness-wise, the dog size matters. For example, a dog training collar for large dogs is comparable to an e-collar for small dogs.

When you make the right choice, your adjustable dog e-collar will let you quickly change its size to accommodate a dog of any size, from a five-pound puppy to one that weighs 100 pounds or more. 

Your Dog’s Response to Physical Stimulation

You need to evaluate if your dog is sensitive to physical stimuli. This evaluation will determine if you require a low-to-medium or low-to-high powered collar. For instance, stubborn dogs would need a low-to-high-powered collar compared to a low-to-medium collar for sensitive dogs.

You’ll need to evaluate your dog’s sensitivity in a non-emotional way by training with them in verbal commands first. Refrain from quickly judging that they’re stubborn dogs merely if they’re disobedient. 

The Range of the E-Collar

Imagine you’re training or walking with the dog, and the dog happens to move out of the remote collar’s range. Then you’ll lose control of the dog; who knows, the dog may fall into unsafe conditions.

So it’s crucial to check that your E-collar has an adequate range. The standard range is 1/2 mile. However, you can opt for more, as too much range is never an issue.

On the other hand, a dog training collar with a narrow range can hamper your training process as it encloses the dog to a limited area.

A dog wearing training collar and standing

Always be aware that when an E-collar provider specifies the range, they mean a straight distance from your remote to your dog. However, in reality, there will be terrain obstructions. So always opt for more range than what the provider specified.

Waterproof Support

If your dog is like mine and enjoys being in the water, buying a waterproof collar is an absolute must. This applies to both the receiver and transmitter. 

Even if your dog is not prepared to swim or enjoy the water, investing in a waterproof collar helps, as you never know when a hazard will occur. You should at least opt for a water-resistant collar in case of rain when going outdoors.

There can also be situations where only the receiver is waterproof, not the handheld transmitter, which is fine. Look for the waterproof design of IPX7, which is the standard value when purchasing your training collar.

We share our top waterproof e-collar picks in this guide.

Rechargeable Batteries

Lastly, ensure that your shock collar has rechargeable batteries instead of replaceable batteries. It comes in handy if you’re camping with your dog for several days in areas without power.

Further it saves you heaps of money for the future.

Do E-collars Cause Pain in Your Dogs?

A training collar is on a dogs neck

Dog training collars generate mild stimulation on your dog. It causes discomfort in your dog but doesn’t cause any pain or harm to the dog.

However, when you use them at a higher intensity level, they cause pain. So in order to get the best out of this training tool, you need to select the intensity level carefully.

What is the Difference Between E-Collar and Shock-Collar?

E-collars and shock-collars mean the same product, and people use the two terms interchangeably. As you know, E-collars emit an electrical stimulation that mildly stimulates the dog’s nerves and sensory receptors. 

Know more about e-collars vs. shock collars here

At What Age Should You Start Training Your Dog With an E-Collar?

When you flip over most training manuals, they say it’s 6 months. From my personal experience, this may vary depending on the dog’s temperament. 

If you expose your dog to the collar at a young and tender age, your dog is most likely to go through fear and anxiety. It will hamper the dog’s learning curve.

Before you provide any training with dog training collars, you need to ensure that your dog receives enough human physical training through verbal commands. Because that way, they’ll adapt to the e-collar quickly without causing distress or harm.

Depending on how well you train your dog, some may be ready for it by 14-16 weeks of age. It also depends on other causes you’re about to discover below. However, 6 months is the standard age for your dog.

Learn more about when to start e-collar training on your dog here.

How to Use an E-Collar?

  1. Read the instruction manual carefully: Although this advice seems obvious, all collars are unique. So thoroughly know how to operate yours.
  2. Test the collar and the remote before use: Before using the device, you need to test that it works, especially after putting in the batteries.
  3. Fix the collar to the dog’s neck: Ensure the dog collar prongs touch the dog’s skin but do not cause discomfort because the last thing you want is for your pet to be uncomfortable while breathing.
  4. Use the lowest effective stimulation first: When using it for the first time for training, use the lowest stimulation level until your pet gets accustomed to it.
  5. Use consistent timing: Use timing intervals whenever your dog happens to produce an unwanted behavior so that the dog receives an appropriate stimulus for that behavior. 

Read the complete guide on how to use an e-collar.

How to Use an E-Collar to Train Your Dog?

Training a Dog With Shock Collar
  • Ensure strong basic obedience: Before starting with the collar training, you need to ensure that your dog responds to at least the basic commands, such as “walk,” “jump,” “sit,” etc.
  • Use the collar without activation initially: Before starting with the training, make sure that you place the collar on the pet’s neck for a few weeks. This way, your dog gets used to it before introducing the stimulations. 
  • Start with basic commands: When you begin using the training collar with your dog, start with the basic commands your dog already knows.
  • Praise your dog for the commands they understand: When training your dog with an electronic collar, start with commands they’re familiar with. Give your dog the command, such as “walk” or “stay,” and then watch for the response. If your dog is not listening, push the transmitter button and repeat the command.
  • Use a combination of collar training with positive reinforcement: For effective training, praise your dog when they behave as you expect. For instance, when they respond correctly to a command, praise or provide them a treat. 

Here’s our complete guide on how to train a dog with an e-collar.

FAQs

No, you should not keep the dog e-collar on 24/7; it may cause hair loss and skin irritation. It should be removed after training sessions.

Dog training collars can range in price from $137 and up. They can be expensive, but can be worth the investment for a good e-collar.

Yes, E-Collars are legal in the US; however, some countries have banned them, and some people deem them cruel to animals. When used correctly, there are no known harmful effects.

To ensure effective training, it is recommended to keep the e-collar on the dog for a minimum of 4 hours per day. However, it is common for owners to break or overlook this recommendation, leading to dogs wearing the training collars for extended periods of time or even during the night.

Conclusion

By now, you know the general guidelines and answers to your questions before purchasing a suitable e-collar for your dog. We have done our part, and now it’s your turn to provide the best for your dog.

So, you’re one step closer to providing the best e-collar for your pet. Check this list of the 10 best dog training collars and give the best to your dog.

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Thomas Villalpando
Thomas Villalpando is the main author of Dogs Academy. He spends his time reading, training, and working with several Dogs' behaviors. He has been featured in MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Sun, Entrepreneur & More. You can find more about him here.

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