How Tight Should a Shock Collar Be On a Dog? Read This First

Last Updated on July, 2024

Are shock collars something decorative a dog wears or is it something that strangles a dog to death in the long run? To know further, let’s take a peek at this article.

Quick Summary

Considerations such as correct positioning, collar tightness, and taking breaks from wearing the collar should all be taken into account.

Misuse of the shock collar, whether too tight or too loose, can cause harm and it is important to consult experts and use the lowest intensity possible.

It is also important to consider the age, size, and breed of the dog when choosing and adjusting a shock collar.

Shock Collars: An Insight

How Tight Should a Shock Collar Be On a Dog?

What Are They?

Most dog owners use training collars. It is tied around the dog’s neck to modify its behavior. Vibration or a jolt is given to the pet when the pet misbehaves.

However, this varies according to how much power the owner uses.

Dog’s Neck And Shock Collars

Shock collars are in different lengths; finding a proper fit is a key to making the dog feel comfortable, and it helps to get the best out of the collar. 

The length of the collar differs, especially if the dog breed is different. When the dog gets older, neck sizes will change. When buying an e-collar, you should look at age, size, and tightness level.

We have a list of recommended best shock collars for your small dogs on our website. Check out HERE!

How to Fit An E-Collar? Step-By-Step Guide

The position of the shock collar and where to place it is always a debate. Some suggest placing it on the upper-middle neck, as some dogs have loose skin and lots of hair.

However, putting it there might cause more damage to the dog since it has less muscle in that area.

Placing it on the side of the neck is advisable, as it has good contact points. It also has more muscle around and has a flat area to position it and keep it in place.

Optimal Position In A Dog’s Neck

  1. Position the collar around the narrowest part of the dog’s neck (high up on the neck) underneath its jawline and below the dog’s chin. Then move it to the side.
  2. Slowly tighten and pull the collar strap until it reaches a point that can’t move.
  3. Shake the collar for it to go through the hair and ensure it makes contact with skin (contact points).

At first, the proper fit (snug fit) might seem tight around the dog’s neck; this is essential for the collar to function correctly. To find contact points, you should ensure it doesn’t slide to the lower side of the neck.


By using the “two finger” rule, fit the shock collar: after fastening the belt, you should be able to slide two fingers in. If sliding two fingers is very hard, the e-collar is too tight. After fitting the collar strap, it should be snug.

Too much pressure will lead to pressure sores. Set it to an ideal range.If the collar fits the fat part of the dog’s neck, chances are, it might slip to the thinnest part of the neck. Position it in a place where the dog feels comfortable. (1)

The video below is an example of how to fit a shock collar.

Dangers of a Loose or Tight E-Collar

What Might Happen If The Collar Is Too Loose? 

A loose collar can cause problems with contact points. The shock collar becomes inefficient if the required electricity doesn’t go in. A higher shock level is needed to get the desired result.

The dog gets hurt when the skin makes proper contact while touching the collar. It affects the dog’s mental and physical state. Using the shock collar to its maximum capacity might severely harm the dog.

How Do You Know If The Collar Is Too Tight?

When the shock collar is too tight, on the other hand, this might lead to disastrous outcomes. Too much collar tightness might cause discomfort and irritation. Tightness can make the dog choke and act weirdly.

Changing the collar’s position is very important, as keeping it in the same place isn’t advisable. Keeping the e-collar too tight for an extended period might cause injuries. (2)

Trimming the collar strap might be essential in some cases to find the proper fit. Also, knowing the dos and don’ts can make a day and night difference to the dog’s health. To have some clarity on this area, let us dive into the technical considerations.

Worth reading: Do Dogs Like Collars or Are They Uncomfortable For Them?

Technical Considerations

The dog’s skin around the neck is sensitive, and passing high voltage frequently can make it a power supply.

E-collars should be customized depending on the dog and its physical condition.

If the dog is already going through pain or some disturbance, seeking expert advice is lifesaving. (3)

It might be a piece of effective training equipment, but the following factors will help before going for a shock collar.

wearing a collar on a dog
  • Giving the dog training and using rewards mechanisms may help.
  • Trim the fur of the dog around its neck, it might help with contacting the dog skin smoothly.
  • Taking measurements around the neck before buying the perfect size.

Everything takes time. Don’t expect overnight wonders from your dog.

When using the training collar, use the lowest level of intensity possible. After using it for a few hours, give the dog some rest. Start from 1-2 hours and work your way up.

Is it Safe to Wear the Shock Collar All the Time?

Dog wearing shock collar

If the dog doesn’t have skin issues, then the optimum time to wear the shock collar is about 8-10 hours. Dogs that are below one year should use less. Ensure that the collar’s position is changed every few hours to avoid irritation and constant pressure.

Wet skin also might loosen the collar and cause irritation. So it’s always in the best interest to check if the dog is adequately dried, especially in the neck and chin region.

Switching sides every few hours is required to ensure the skin doesn’t get damaged: while doing it, make sure that the collar contact points touch the skin.


Closing Thoughts

Dog’s skin is sensitive, and a regular collar might get the job done. But using it and misusing it depends on the owner. Dogs, like humans, go through stress, anxiety, and physical pain. 

Dog training is crucial before thinking about using a collar. Train your pet with care and caution. A dog regularly moves and barks frequently, and using an e-collar is a go-to option.

How tight should a shock collar be is always a question? Knowing that a dog’s coat and neck is fragile, it also needs time off without the collar.

Finding the proper fit and using the collar properly will significantly impact the pet. Use the collar wisely.



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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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