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Should you use a Dog E-Collar?

Should you use a Dog E-Collar?


As a dog owner, you’re probably aware of E-Collars (stigmatized as shock collars) and how they’re used. Some people may argue that E-Collars are not the best form of correction or not that effective, as well as inhumane. Others contend that E-Collars are often necessary for training a dog. To find out more about dog these collars and whether or not you should utilize one, you can read more below!

What Is an E-Collar?

An e-collar or electronic collar is a tool placed around the dog's neck that delivers electric stimulation as a method of teaching or behavior modification. Small probes on the collar that make skin-to-skin contact with the dog administer the electric stimulation. This correction can also come in the form of a vibration or light flash for a gentler attention-grabber. 

Electric stimulation, which may be adjusted in intensity, is frequently used to stop undesirable behaviors like recall and reactivity. To remotely correct the dog's behavior, the collar can also be utilized as a remote training device from a far distance. 

Dog E-Collar usage has generated debate, with some trainers and behaviorists claiming that they are harsh and can injure dogs physically and psychologically. Others contend that they can be useful training and behavior-modification tools when utilized properly.

It is crucial to remember that E-Collars must only be applied with the approval of a qualified trainer or behaviorist. To ensure that the dog learns to correlate the desired behavior with a reward, the use of a E-Collar should always be combined with reinforcement training methods that reward correct behavior.

How Does an E-Collar Work?


The two metal prongs that are in contact with the dog's skin generate a tiny vibration or electric current to the neck, through which the collar operates from. The trainer can change the shock's intensity; lesser levels are for softer corrections and higher ones are used for more serious behaviors or dogs who may not adhere to lesser corrections. The shock is made to be unpleasant but not severe and to “snap” the dog out of focusing on the unwanted behaviour.

Before administering the shock, the collar typically features a warning sound or vibration feature that can be used. This enables the dog to link the undesirable behavior to the correction, reducing the need for later, more severe shocks.

Some claim that the shock collar is an inhumane method of training dogs, which has made the device contentious. But when used properly, it can be a powerful tool for restraining undesirable behaviors. The collar should only be used to correct risky or inappropriate behaviors, and it should be used in conjunction with positive reinforcement training.

It's also crucial to remember that dogs with health difficulties or puppies should never wear E-Collars. Additionally, the collar must be used with professional supervision and direction.


Is Shock Stimulation the Only Mode of Correction with These Collars?

Many electronic dog collars provide a range of remedial modes, such as vibration, sound, and light. These modes are intended to give a gentler method of resolving undesired behavior. In the vibration mode, a slight vibration is used to attract the dog's attention and deter undesirable behavior. The dog is startled and the undesired behavior is stopped using the sound mode. The dog is drawn to bright light in the light mode, which serves to divert them from undesirable behavior.

It's vital to remember that every dog is different and could react in a different way to various remedial methods. Some dogs might be more responsive to particular modes than others, and vice versa. It's critical to experiment with various modes to determine which one works best for your dog.

Furthermore, it's critical to employ electronic collars properly and responsibly. It is crucial to apply the least amount of correction required to get the desired outcome. Using the collar consistently and in conjunction with positive reinforcement training methods is also crucial.

Overall, shock stimulation is one type of corrective action that is frequently used in electronic dog collars, but it is not the only one. Vibration, sound, and light are some other choices that can offer a more humane and efficient way to stop undesired behaviors. It's crucial to use the collar sensibly and select the appropriate setting for your dog.

It's important to remember that using a remote training collar doesn't signify that you are a horrible pet parent or that you are torturing your dog.. Shared training sessions might strengthen your relationship with each other. Incorrect use, however, can confuse your dog as to what they are being disciplined for and can cause frustration from both the dog and owner. Timing of this correction is SO important as it is the difference between that confusion and common understanding. 

The Debate over the Use of E-Collars

The debate over the usage of dog E-Collars has raged on for many years, with views on the subject sharply divided. On the one hand, promoters believe that they are an effective training tool that may be used safely and compassionately. They suggest that these collars can be used to teach dogs obedience and other desirable behaviors while also helping to curb unwanted behavior such as reactivity or recall.

One of the main defenses used by detractors is that the devices can injure dogs in the long run, both physically and emotionally. They contend that these collars can be especially detrimental to dogs who already have delicate temperaments and can make them agitated and aggressive. Additionally, they contend that the use of E-Collars can cause the relationship between a dog and owner to break down. They site anxiety and lack of confidence as symptoms of dogs who use these collars on a long term basis.

Supporters of E-Collars contend that these tools can be used compassionately and safely and that they can be an efficient tool for behavior modification and training. They contend that these collars can be used to teach dogs obedience and other desirable behaviors, as well as to stop undesirable behavior like barking or aggression. Additionally, they debate that when used properly, shock collars can be a kind and efficient method of dog training that can safe a dog’s life if being recalled from a dangerous situation or reacting to a moment that can cause them or other’s harm.

The Pros and Cons of Using an E-Collar

Before using or getting an E-Collar, the following benefits and drawbacks are listed. Please take the time to study these carefully, and consult a trainer with additional questions!

The Pros:

  • Faster Training: Dog E-Collars can help speed up the training process for dogs, as they provide a clear and immediate consequence for unwanted behaviors. This can make it easier for dogs to understand what they should and should not be doing.
  • Improved Behavior: Dog E-Collars can help to improve behavior in dogs that have previously been difficult to train. This can include dogs that are aggressive, reactive, disobedient or flight risks.
  • Greater Control: Dog E-Collars give owners greater control over their dogs, allowing them to quickly and effectively respond to unwanted behaviors. This can help to prevent dangerous situations, such as a dog running into traffic, and can also make it easier to take dogs on walks and hikes where they may be in contact with other people and dogs.
  • Increased Safety: Dog E-Collars can safe lives if a reactive dog is stopped from hurting someone, or a running dog is recalled from heading off of a cliff.
  • Versatile: E-Collars are versatile and can be used for a variety of training needs. They can be used for obedience training, behavior modification, and special task training.
  • Can be used from a distance: E-Collars can be used from a distance, which means that owners can correct their dog's behavior even when they are not near. This can be particularly useful when training hunting/ prey driven dogs or when training working dogs in a large open space.
  • Can be used for different breeds and sizes: E-Collars can be used for different breeds and sizes of dogs, which means that they are suitable for almost any dog.
  • Can be used for different levels of training: E-Collars can be used for different levels of training, which means that they are suitable for both basic and advanced training.

The Cons of Using an E-Collar:

  • Over-Correction: You may deliver shocks unintentionally or too frequently if you are not able to accurately know when to provide one. Your dog can become confused by this unneeded shock that "corrects" an issue that wasn't even present. Misuse or uneducated use can cause more harm than good if the dog doesn’t understand the correction; and can redirect energy onto you, someone else, or another dog.
  • Dependence: Dogs can become reliant on the correction to tame a behavior over training against the behaviour, and working without the E-Collar can sometimes be more difficult. 
  • Anxiety/ Nervousness: Misuse of this training tool and incorrect corrections can create anxiety and nervousness over time. 
  • Not Easy to Use: E-Collars may present as easy to use, but being able to correct at the exact time needed is not easy to catch for many dog owners. Because of this, it's imperative that this collar be used in combination with the advise of a professional trainer who is well versed in using this tool.

Who do we recommend?

We recommend two high quality brands that offer dependable, reliable E-Collars with various levels including both electric stimulation, light and vibration. 

1. The Mini Educator Series

E-Collar dog training is all about finding the lowest level that your dog responds to. Other brands rely on Rheostat dials and outdated circuitry that only allow you to change the stimulation levels in groups of 5 that can make it difficult to find the perfect level that's not too low that your dog doesn't respond or too high that will cause stress. The Mini Educator ET 300 by E-Collar Technologies utilizes patent COS technology that makes it easy for you to find just the right level without over stimulating your dog and the "Lock & Set” feature allows you to lock this setting to your stimulation button for a no-look operation.

2. Dogtra E-Collars

Dogtra takes the guessing work out of finding the right model of collar by providing a user friendly, fast quiz on their site that will recommend the best collars to you based on your dog's info. Based out of Torrance, California, USA, Dogtra produces the world's finest e-collars. Dogtra's focus is on offering user-friendly e-collars that are designed for the most demanding training conditions. Dogtra offers a complete line of e-collars from small-breed pet trainers to a variety of sporting dog units as well as K-9 Police and US Marines.

Final Reflections

What is the final word on E-Collars? It's complicated, just like a lot of things. Reinforcement training techniques are, of course, always preferred. But what if they fail, putting your dog in danger of running off or causing harm to themselves or others?

In those situations, an E-Collar can be an alternative. 

When employing unpleasant training techniques, you want to be as careful and mindful as you can. To manage any potential issues, use it when you're in the presence of a trainer to get comfortable first, before continuing usage by yourself.

Finally, be sure to purchase a collar of superior quality. A high-quality collar should perform as planned and shouldn't administer extraneous or too strong shocks. Additionally, it's crucial to modify the training if your dog's behavior changes.