How to Properly Train Your Dog With a Shock Collar

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There are many different ways to train a dog, and one of the most effective ways is to use a shock collar, sometimes also referred to as an e-collar or a remote collar.

They work by delivering mild static shocks to canines to reinforce basic commands or correct undesirable behavior. And when people hear the term shock collar, they tend to think of something that inflicts pain on dogs. So there is no wonder that these devices have gained controversy and have such a negative reputation.

But that couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, the static stimulation these devices emit is just a tingle when used correctly, designed to get a dog’s attention only. In fact, modern e-collars are made with safety in mind. They come with a beep, vibration setting, and static stimulation of varying intensity that allow owners to use one that is just right without causing any discomfort or pain.

The sensation is similar to static electrical shocks you may get when touching your car door handle or a metallic object. It’s annoying but not painful. More than just an attention grabber, these remote collars can be an invaluable tool for training and correcting your canine companion’s bad manners.

But before you decide to use an e-collar on your dog, it’s crucial to learn how to use one correctly because improper use of these devices can do more harm than good, and the last thing you want is for your furry friend to become anxious or fearful.

So, let’s go over the proper way of using an e-collar to train your dog! 

Dog Training with a Shock Collar

Rule #1 - Make Sure Your Dog Understands the Basics

First things first, you need to make sure your dog already knows the basic commands like sit, stay, come, heel, etc., before using an e-collar because, remember, as I mentioned earlier, the tool is designed to get a dog’s attention.

If your canine friend doesn’t know any of the basics, they will not understand what you want from them when you hit the button, and you will end up confusing and scaring them.

In other words, if your four-legged friend doesn’t sit, stay, or come when you issue the command, they are not ready for e-collar training.

Rule #2 - Train Your Dog With an E-Collar in a Positive Way

Many people use shock collars to punish their dogs when their pups do something undesirable. But that’s not how these devices are supposed to be used. Long gone are the days people used aversive techniques to train dogs.

Remote collars should always be introduced and used to train dogs in a positive way. You want to pair the e-collar with treats, praise, or anything they find pleasurable. You want your canine to have a positive experience with the equipment and teach them that the e-collar triggers good things.

Rule #3 - Always Start With a Low Setting and Associate the Stimulation With Your Voice

It might seem reasonable to start with high settings when you first put it around your dog’s neck, which most people do, but that might startle, scare, or hurt your pup and can prove to be a big mistake.

So always start with a low setting, typically around level 3 to 5. But because every dog is different, some are more sensitive than others depending on the breed, temperament, etc., you can increase or decrease it as you see fit. However, I wouldn’t recommend going any higher than level 10 the first time.

And what I mean by associating the sensation with your voice is when you issue a command, say, for instance, sit, you push the button. Then, when they respond appropriately, say something like “good boy/ girl!” or give them their favorite treats to tell them that they’ve done the right thing.

It’s just a conditioning thing, like clicker training, where you pair the sound of a clicker with something good for your dog like a treat. The same goes for e-collars, except instead of a clicker noise, you use stimulation from the collar to communicate with your dog.

Another way to associate the stimulation with your voice is by using the continuous stimulation setting to tell your pooch to do something, then release it and praise them as soon as they do it right. And the reason I say “as soon as they do it right” is because the timing is crucial. You don’t want to create any confusion.

Your ultimate goal is you want your pooch to know that you want them to do something when you tap the remote and that they should come to you, sit, or do whatever you tell them to do. And I can’t stress this enough, e-collars should only be used as a communication tool, not as a form of punishment.

How to Use a Remote Collar to Stop Bad Behavior?

Now that we’ve gone over the three e-collar training golden rules, I’ll talk about how to use a remote training collar to correct bad behavior!

There are times when your dog does something undesirable and completely ignores you because they’re either too distracted or stubborn. In those situations, you need to let them know that what they are doing is not okay by triggering the e-collar to redirect their attention and show them the behavior you want.

Let me give you an example. Say, for instance, you are trying to stop your dog from digging in the yard. Make sure to put the e-collar on before you let your canine out. And remember, you are not using the device to punish your dog but only to help redirect their attention, so set the intensity to the level you usually use.

When you catch your fido digging in the backyard, tap the continuous stimulation button, accompanied with, say, “leave it.” Once your dog stops digging, release the button immediately and praise them. This way, they’ll learn every time they dig, the stimulation follows, but when they stop, the sensation goes away, and they get rewarded for the behavior you want. Over time, they’ll learn that they shouldn’t dig.

Another example is your canine barks incessantly. Whether that’s triggered by a squirrel, your neighbor, or a mailman walking by, you can use a remote collar to stop that behavior.

The same methodology applies. When your pup begins to bark, tap the continuous stimulation button and give a “quiet” command, then let go of the button and praise them when they comply. Eventually, they’ll learn “quiet” means stop barking and silent.

Simple, right?

However, you can’t expect results after one session, but over time and with persistence, your dog will learn the ropes. Remember that patience and consistency are keys when it comes to training dogs.

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When to Put the Electronic Dog Training Collar on Your Dog?

This is a common question that dog owners ask. Put it this way. Do you leash your dog when going out for a walk or in public? Yes.

Well. You basically want to use electronic training collars like a leash because there are too many distractions and too many things out there that you can’t control.

What if your dog decided to run into the street? What if they go into full furry-beast mode and start running after another animal? Or what if they get into a fight with other dogs? You’ll be utterly helpless if it’s without an e-collar and your pup is beyond arm’s reach and that they don’t listen to you.

By using a remote collar, you are in control of all these scenarios and can reliably recall or communicate with your dog when they are off-leash in the outdoors.

Why Do I Think E-Collars Are the Best Dog Training Tool

I can say that e-collars are easily one of the best, if not the best, dog training tools out there. Why? Because these devices allow dogs to be dogs and enjoy the off-leash freedom while giving their owners peace of mind as the owners can reliably reach and communicate with them at all times. That’s one of the reasons why almost every hunting dog uses tracking and training collars.

Think of using an e-collar as a wireless leash that gives dog owners extra security when outside without an actual lead, whether it’s going off-leash hiking or running. Simply put, it’s a great way to keep your pup as well as other people and dogs around them safe, all while letting them enjoy their life to the fullest.