The use of electronic collars as a training method for your dog is highly sought-after. It’s deemed by many dog lovers to be a gentle, quick, and effective dog training method.
Before starting e-collar training, make sure your dog understands the basic commands., such as sit, heel, and come. Once he knows them, it’s time to look for the one that best suits your needs, as well as your dog’s.
E-collars put an end to unwanted behavior. Through consistent use, combined with positive feedback, e-collars are the best option for affectively modifying your dog’s behavior.
Keep reading for a comprehensive guide on how to effectively train your dog.
How E-Collars Work
We’ve mentioned that electronic collars deliver an electric stimulation. These vibrations activate your dog’s skin receptors, called nociceptors, on his neck. These nociceptors detect that tingling discomfort when he feels the collar vibrate.
The stimulus can be delivered automatically or by way of a remote control, which you hold on to.
There are two types that deliver an automatic shock stimulus: the bark collar and the containment system. These work via a small microphone embedded in the collar. Whenever the microphone picks up a bark, it administers a shock.
Pro dog trainer, Bill Grimmer, compares it to a car’s seat belt. Beeper. When you don’t buckle up, you start hearing that annoying beep. So, to make it stop, you immediately buckle up.
Many of us now buckle up without giving it a second thought. All thanks to that irritating beeping. It’s the same way with e-collars.
There are many reasons for relying on e-collar training. The main reason is that it’s an effective way to modify and change behavior from the negative to the positive.
It’s not meant to be used as a punishment. It simply gets your dog to stop any unwanted behavior of any kind and pay attention.
Electronic collars are considered negative training methods because of the shock system. Yet they don’t harm or cause lasting damage to your dog in any way.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Beginning E Collar Training
Follow this comprehensive guide for effective, safe, and pain-free e-collar training for your dog.
Step 1: Gather the Necessary Information
There are 3 basic e-collars. They all follow the same basic design. Yet each type is different in their training technique and how they operate.
It’s worth mentioning that most e-collars come with the option of a beeping sound as it’s delivering the shock stimulus. This is a good way to teach your dog to associate the beep sound with a negative stimulus.
Then, after a while, he can connect the beep with the unwanted behavior. This way, you can control any wrong behavior with just the sound of the beep. You won’t even need to deliver the shock anymore.
If you’re not sure which one is the right one for your dog, discuss it with your veterinarian.
Read ahead to find the one that best suits your dog and his training needs.
Bark collars are available in a variety of features and designs. They’re rechargeable with adjustable stimulation levels. They’re capable of delivering stimulus automatically any time your dog does something he’s not supposed to.
The containment system is also referred to as a wireless dog fence. They work by delivering s stimulus as soon as your dog does something wrong. They don’t require any interference from you.
With obedience collars, you control the stimulus delivered to your dog. By holding a remote control, you have all the power of when and how to teach your dog that he’s doing something wrong.
A pro-tip: hide the remote from your dog behind your back or in your pocket. If your dog realizes that the remote control in your hand is what’s causing the stimulation he’s feeling, it could result in adverse consequences.
He may fear the remote itself or even become aggressive towards it. He may even show signs of aggression towards you whenever he sees you holding it.
Step 2: Consider the Pros and Cons of E-Collar Training
Coupled with positive training techniques, e-collars can help teach your dog to pay attention and obey. Here are some of its pros and cons.
- Similar to other negative stimuli, as a tug on your dog’s leash
- Adjustable shock levels to suit every dog
- Brings faster results and is more effective with certain types of dogs
- Improved technology provides more humane and gentler stimuli
- Transitioning to off-leash training is faster and more effective
- Isn’t suitable for dogs who become aggressive when scolded
- Negative stimuli can result in psychological harm in sensitive dogs
- Considered by some dog trainers to be a lazy, cruel, and ineffective training process
Step 3: Teach Your Dog The Basic Commands
Before you begin e-collar training, you have to be sure that your dog comprehends the three basic obedience commands, which are:
When you give the command, make sure your voice is firm. Say it two, maybe three, times at most. Your dog should obey you without giving it a second thought.
If he doesn’t comprehend these commands or fails to obey them, then he’s not ready for an e-collar.[Related Article: Is Private Dog Training Worth It And What Are the Alternatives]
Step 4: Adjust The Collar For The Perfect Fit
Your dog’s collar is usually loose around his neck. But when it comes to e-collars, you should adjust it to be a notch tighter than what he’s usually accustomed to.
A good rule to follow is to see how many fingers you can slip under his collar. Two fingers are good enough. Three means the collar is too loose for the e-collar to effectively work.
One finger means the collar is too tight. Tight collars are something you want to stay away from at all times because it can lead to muscular strain. They can also result in other types of injury and choking.
In order for the collar to work, the contact points should be touching the skin.[Related Article: Should I Take My Dog Collar Off At Night Before Bed For Safety]
Step 5: Find The Best Shock Stimulation Setting
One of the best things about e-collars nowadays is that they’re adjustable. This makes it easier for you to find the shock level that best suits your dog’s stimulus-response. The whole point of an e-collar is to perk up his ears, look around, and stop whatever bad behavior he was doing. It shouldn’t cause him any pain.
The most important part of an e-collar is choosing the best level of shock stimulation setting for your dog. Most electronic collars go from being barely perceptible on your hand and go all the way up from there.
Before trying it out on your dog, hold it in your hand. It’s a great way to test the different vibration levels to find the best one to use with your dog. Just remember that the nerve tissue in your hand is way more sensitive than those found on your dog’s neck.
To find the stimulation setting that works best for your dog, start with the lowest setting possible on the e-collar. Keep going higher until your dog seems annoyed by something.
Watch your dog closely for any reaction, no matter how small. It could be he jerked his head or twitched his ears. He may have shown signs of a spasm in his tail or legs. The obvious sign is that he moaned or even let out a yelp.
These are all signs that he’s in pain. If you see any of these signs, immediately stop using the e-collar and keep the setting on low. The reaction you’re looking for isn’t a yelp in distress. It should be a mixture of confusion and annoyance.
If you don’t see any reaction at all, increase the setting levels one by one until you see a slight reaction. Even though his reaction may be barely visible, your dog feels the e-collar working. That’s what matters.
Remember, getting a big reaction, like a yelp, from your dog doesn’t mean the e-collar is working better. In fact, it’s just the opposite.
The smaller the reaction, the more effective your e-collar training will be. This way, you can make sure the collar is only causing your dog a slight discomfort. At the same time, you can use it repeatedly without fear of hurting him physically or psychologically.
Step 6: Familiarize Your Dog With The Collar
Start your e-collar training by what the experts refer to as the ‘collar conditioning’. It starts by getting your dog used to wearing the collar.
In the morning, he wakes up, you put on the collar. Your dog should feel that the collar is associated with going out, playing, and just having a great time.
Just let your dog enjoy wearing the collar for a few days. Even though you’re technically not putting the collar into use, it’s still an important part of the training process.
The collar should be part of normal, everyday life. It shouldn’t be associated with any discomfort or irritation.
This way, when you start using the e-collar, your dog will associate the discomfort with the unwanted behavior. He won’t connect it with the collar itself.
Step 7: Begin the Command Training
It’s important to remember that the e-collar is used to highlight your dog’s undesired actions. Going back to the three basic commands your dog now understands. You’re going to use the e-collar to reinforce these commands and teach him to obey you without hesitation.
- Give the Command ‘Sit!’.
- Place your hand above his tail while pushing slightly to force him into a sitting position.
- As you’re getting him into the sitting position, activate the e-collar.
- Once he’s in the sitting position, stop using the collar and praise him
What happens is your dog starts to get the message. He feels discomfort when he doesn’t sit as soon as he hears a certain command. He must understand that there are negative consequences when he doesn’t obey you.
Once he understands that part, he notices how the discomfort goes away once he does what you’ve told him. He also sees that he gets some sweet affection and praise from you, which he loves. That’s why using both negative and positive training techniques works wonders
You can repeat these steps as many times as you see fit until your dog understands your command and obeys it at once.
When he’s mastered one command, you can move on to the next.
Avoid teaching more than one command at once, especially while using the e-collar. It’ll give your dog mixed signals, and his training may regress.
Step 8: Put An End To Uncontrollable Behavior
There are many reasons why many dog owners incorporate electronic collars in their training program. But the one that tops their list is that it quickly puts an end to unwanted behavior, such nibbling on electric cables or barking at the delivery guy.
Some dogs are just feisty and curious by nature. While cute and adorable, this behavior can lead to potentially destructive, even deadly, results.
Take a dog that makes it a habit of digging holes in your flower beds You’ve probably tried everything you can to get him to stop. Yet, he still does it.
That’s when it’s time to let the e-collar work it’s magic. The point of the collar is to get him to associate its negative discomfort with the type of unwanted behavior.
Follow These Steps
- Place the e-collar on your dog. Watch him closely and be on alert.
- As soon as he starts sniffing around the flower bed, activate the collar for 2 to 3 seconds.
- That irritating stimulation will make him stop and look around. if he does it again, trigger the e-collar again. Remember to use it to modify his behavior, not punish him. So 3 seconds is the most time you can use the e-collar to get real results.
- When he stops doing the undesired action, make sure you praise and hug him to emphasize his positive behavior.
- Repeat as necessary.
It’s important that you’re consistent in delivering your message. This means you have to monitor your dog every time he’s near that electric cable, or whatever it is you want him to stay away from. Consistency is the key to effective training.
Step 9: The Right Way
Even though e-collars are viewed as effective training tools, they can have damaging consequences if you don’t use them the right way. That’s the heart of the controversy.
Use More Than One Training Tool
To avoid any mishandling or misuse of the e-collars, remember that they should play only one part in your training program. They provide quick behavior modification without fear of abusing or harming your dog in any way.
Use them the right way, your dog becomes trusting, obedient, and safe. Use them the wrong way, you can turn your dog into a hostile, fearful, distrusting animal.
Mid and Match
You know the saying ‘you get more bees with honey.’ It’s the same thing with your dog.
If you only rely on negative stimuli to teach your dog correct behavior, you won’t get very far. So it’s better if you try mixing and matching your training tools. Combining e-collars with positive techniques will get quicker and better results.
It’s better if you reward your dog with treats when he listens to your commands or does something right. Dogs respond to praise and affection. So always make sure he always knows just how much you love him.[Related Article: Is It Too Late To Train My Dog After 2 Years Old]
End Unwanted Behavior
E-collars should be used for extreme behavior. This can include running into the street or barking at the delivery man. Basically, it’s best used when there’s unwanted behavior that you want to put a stop to straight away.
Step 10: Enjoy Your Well-Trained Dog
Be proud of all your hard work. You’ve successfully trained your dog to obey your commands.
A Final Note
If you decide to e-collar train your dog, remember to use the collar sensibly and with love. It shouldn’t be used as a form of punishment. Your main aim should be to get your dog to be more obedient for his well-being and to keep him safe.
Whether it’s for behavior modification or basic control of your dog, knowing how and when to use the collar will bring prompt and effective results. Use our step-by-step guide on how to train your dog with an e-collar for the best way to implement positive electronic collar training.