When it comes to training your dog there are many approaches that dog parents can take. Some people prefer to read a book, while some take their dog to instructed training classes and some opt to use a training collar. It is important that you know how to use a training collar if this is the direction that you chose to go.
Not knowing how to use the collar properly, could cause your dog harm and make the use ineffective. Making sure that they are used properly is the only way to use them successfully to get the outcome that you want.
Today I am going to tell you everything you need to know about using a training collar.
What are they
A training collar also called an e-collar, is an excellent tool that can be used to help train your dog.
What is a training collar exactly? Well obviously from the name, you know it’s a collar. This collar is different in that it has a rectangular box that is equipped with 2 protruding prongs on it. These prongs are contact points that sit snuggly on your dogs neck. An electric current is passed through these prongs to give your dog a signal.
Now depending on the collar, most of them have different signal settings that you can choose between. So depending on the level of signal that you want to send to your dog, you could choose accordingly. Choices are a simple tickle sensation, all the way up to a more dramatic shock. Sometimes as many as 16 adjustable levels.
I know that a shock sounds like an inhumane thing to put your dog through, but experts say that as long as you are using the collar properly they are safe. This is why it is so important to understand the proper way to use and implement the collar.
The collar is operated by using the paired remote control which is how the collar is activated. You simply select the setting and push a button to use. Being that it is operated by remote, this gives us the ability to operate it from a distance.
No matter what brand of training collar you buy, they all operate by using a radio signal. The concept consists of 2 components:
Depending on the training level that you are wanting, will be based on your dog and their behaviour. You can choose between different training modes.
The easiest way to understand the use of these modes, is to think about what level of signal your dog needs in order to do what you are asking him to do. It could be just sending a sound like beeper training, simple vibration or lastly a shock signal. As you can see, the choices of settings allow you to control for as little or as much transmitted signal that you want to send.
Reasons to use
There are many reasons to use a training collar. Some of the most popular reasons that dog parents opt to buy a training collar are:
- reinforce learned behaviour (inconsistent with your commands)
- excessive barking or unwanted behaviour
- digging in the yard
- around food
- excessive leash pulling
- outdoor boundaries (leaving the yard)
As you can see from the list above, there are some glaring issues that people want to solve with their dogs and so they choose this route as a solution.
For these collars to work effectively, the timing of the signal you are sending is pretty much the most important key to being successful with a training collar.
Much like a toddler that touches something that they aren’t suppose to, disciplining them right away is what allows them to connect the negative response with the reaction. You need to administer the signal right away to your dog in the same way. This way they are connecting the two.
To teach your dog to consistently respond to commands that he already knows like sit, stay, down and come, you can use e-collar to reinforce those commands.
First give your dog the command you want, and then if they don’t comply, you would administer the signal until they do. Continuing the signal until you dog does what you asked, your dog will quickly figure out that as soon as he does what you asked him to do he will no longer get the unpleasant signal. You will be surprised how fast your dog will connect the two. Dogs are smart animals, and they don’t mean to be difficult, sometimes it is just takes them a bit to get it. Just like that toddler before, the connection mentally needs to be made between the action and the reaction they get.
When it comes to stopping bad behaviour, you use the collar in the opposite way. Above you administer the signal until they get it right. A dog displaying bad behaviour like doing something like digging that you don’t want, you would watch them from afar and the second they start you would just tap the remote.
A quick tap would send the vibration or shock. If that doesn’t work, you would increase the signal until they do. Keeping at it for 3 or 4 times, to reinforce the trigger you are using. Your dog will quickly associate the bad behaviour with the signal.
This same action can be used for any unwanted behaviour whether it’s digging, stealing food or getting in to the garbage. The application will work, if it is used properly, humanely and consistently.
If using the collar to help train your dog out an acreage for boundary issues you need to start using the collar in small distances. Start slowly in a small area and extend it out as your dog starts to roam outside the boundary area. This is the key to success for training your dog with this issue.
Much like a invisible fence, you start with a quick signal just as an indication when they are getting to close to leaving the area that you don’t want them to leave. Then if they go on, you would increase it to make it much stronger to stop them from advancing. If you start with these steps, your dog will start to understand what their limits outside are. Just keep working on it with repetition and your dog will be successful.
How to get started
Above, I talked about what applications the training collar can be used for, but before any of that training can help, you need to get acquainted. You and your dog! OK what do I mean get acquainted.
I always talk about how important it is to be educated and responsible with anything you give or use for your dog. Well this 100% applies here also. Before you jump right in, READ THE MANUAL! Do not do anything else first but this. Educate yourself and make sure that you know everything the collar is capable of doing before you introduce your dog to it.
After reading the manual, you are just a part of the way there. Next is to introduce your dog very slowly to the collar. By making sure the collar is a good fit is the perfect place to start. You don’t want it all sloppy and moving around. It needs to be snug up high on your dogs neck.
The other reason that you need to ensure you get the right size, as it needs to be comfortable for your dog. If the prongs are poking them in an uncomfortable position, they will fight wearing the collar. The proper fit is 2 fingers. Stick your 2 fingers under the collar and if they slide in, you have a good fit.
I would also make sure to put the collar on without activating the collar at all in the beginning. This will make sure that the dog doesn’t outsmart the collar. You don’t want them understanding that the collar is always associated with it triggering a signal. You need them to think of it as a regular collar. Have them wear it for a bit before you turn it on to start using it. The worse thing that you could do is to put the collar on and instantly activate it. As I said dogs are smart and it could absolutely cause your dog to connect the two.
Next, you need to set the collar signal strength and training mode that you want. You need to know the strengths of the settings and of course start at the very lowest setting. Watch how your dog reacts. On the low settings, you may get a head tilt or perking up of the ears, then just adjust up from there to the desired reaction.
I can’t tell you what that exact setting or mode you need to have, as each dog will react differently. Some dogs are way more sensitive then other dogs. It doesn’t even have anything to do with the size or breed of your dog. It really is about your dogs individual reaction.
This is just something to keep in mind when you start using the collar. No 2 dogs are the same.
When it comes to buying your very own training collar, there are many choices. One of the top brands that have the absolute best selection is PetSpy. They are a company that comes from Florida has been around since 2015. A manufacturing company with a mission statement that says they are “dedicated to helping people understand how to train their dogs using e-collar technology”.
In the past 5 years, the company has continued to become more and more popular. They have over 200,000 happy customers all around the world. You can buy their products in 3 of the biggest online pet markets, Chewy, Amazon and Walmart. Not to mention that they have a pretty amazing website of their own at”Petspy.com“.
The best think about Petspy, is the selection of training collars to choose from. They have specific collars for field use outside, for hunting, just barking and of course the Pro Field Trainer Model that has the expanded 16 adjustable levels of vibration. No matter what you are needing, they have it and more.
Here are a few of the most popular selections:
Approx. $100-125 USD
- Rechargeable and waterproof
- Good for all breeds 10lbs – 120lbs
- Operational range is 650 feet
- 3 training modes
- 16 adjustable levels
- Easy to use remote
- Free training guide
Approx. $80 – 100 USD
- Rechargeable and waterproof
- Good for small and large dogs
- Range is up to 1200 ft
- 8 adjustable levels of vibration
- Power saving Auto Sleep mode
Approx. $75 – 85 USD
- Rubber contact points
- Range is 1100 yards
- 4 training modes
- 8 adjustable levels
- Rechargable and waterproof
- Easy to use remote
Now you are probably wondering what if you have more than 2 dogs? Well they also have that covered. They sell bundles that come with 2 collars and 1 remote. That way you don’t have to buy 2 complete sets. They range from $89.99 – $105 USD on sale and regular price ranges from $150 – $180.
With the many choices available, customers are loving Petspy training collars as an excellent training tool. Here is just one customers review.
Never use your training collar to discipline your dog, that is not what they are for. They are to be used in a manner that is humane, respectful and as a tool to enhance your training. Using the training collar properly can help build a bond between you and your dog.
There are differing opinions on whether dog parents should use these collars. Many people believe that they are inhumane not the proper way to train your dog. Personally I have used these collars, so for me, I obviously disagree with that thinking. We used it on our dog BOO back more than 15 years ago. For us, the problem we were trying to address was his excessive barking.
Back then, there weren’t that many options when it came to a training collar, and they definitely didn’t come with a remote control option. You also didn’t have any signal options, all you could do was adjust the amount they of transmission they got. Our experience was pretty good, I wish we would have had the beeper or vibration option like they have now, but it did work.
As always what works for one person and their dog, may not be the same for the next person. There is no right or wrong answer here. It is what works for you and your dog. Every dog parent has a different experience and unique style.
Well I hoped you enjoyed reading my post. I would love to hear your thoughts or comments below.