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A Beginner’s Guide to Choosing: E-Collar vs Bark Collar vs E-Fence

A Beginner’s Guide to Choosing: E-Collar vs Bark Collar vs E-Fence

Dog training isn’t always simple. But it shouldn’t be particularly difficult either. Every responsible pet owner knows it’s necessary, especially for pets with behavioral issues.

When training seems futile, however, where does it leave you? You’ve probably heard of or read about e-collars. These are modern tools that are effective and safe for dog behavior modification.

With a diverse selection of e-collars on the market, you’ll surely find a suitable remote trainer for your dog. The question is, “How can you guarantee you’re buying the right e-collar device?”

This blog endeavors to help you decide what type of e-collar to buy.

Why Should You Use an E-Collar?

Dogtra 200NCPT Receiver Collar

An e-collar, short for an electronic collar, is a dog training device. It is sometimes called a dog shock collar, although modern units don’t precisely “shock” dogs. What it does is send feedback once your dog misbehaves. This teaches them to stop unwanted behavior and reform to avoid the stimulus.

E-collars typically utilize static stimulation, but most e-collars nowadays offer alternative correction modes. Hence, an e-collar could have any of the following corrections or a combination of these:

  • Static - delivers a mild, tingling sensation
  • Vibration - sends a vibrating pulse
  • Audible Tone - emits a beeping sound
  • Ultrasonic Sound - releases a high-pitched sound for dogs but is inaudible to humans
  • Spray - gives off a burst of either scented or unscented mist

Are E-Collars Safe for Dogs?

Modern e-collars from reputable manufacturers are safe and humane to use on dogs. Though they emit a slightly unpleasant sensation, that’s all there is. It’s a slight discomfort but nothing painful. It’s like giving your dog’s neck a nudge to get their attention.

Without that bit of discomfort, your dog won’t understand that their behavior is unacceptable and may continue doing the same. An e-collar is a reinforcement tool that teaches them there’s a consequence for behaving unnecessarily.

Advantages of Using an E-Collar in Dog Training

There are good reasons why many pet owners and dog trainers use e-collars in their training.

  • Offers instant feedback
  • Dog training can only be effective if your dog learns to associate the correction with the behavior you want to discourage. This means feedback should be given promptly as your pet exhibits undesirable behavior. Any delay, however short, can confuse your dog about what you expect them to do. With an e-collar, you can send feedback immediately using the remote button.

  • Corrects behavior from a distance
  • Consider the time when you took a rapid dash to stop your pet from taking a leak on someone’s belongings. By the time you arrive, the deed is done, and you’ve already inconvenienced the owner.

    An e-collar prevents similar scenarios from happening. It allows you to interrupt whatever your dog is about to do even though you’re yards away. The stimulus from the ecollar enables them to know that what they’re doing at the moment is not allowed.

  • Provides better communication with your dog
  • An e-collar serves as a leash extension when your dog is at a distance. Sometimes, your dog may get so fixated on the squirrel they’re chasing that they ignore your shouting. This could happen if your pet is highly excited and distracted. When voice command fails, an e-collar allows you to communicate clearly with your dog. That quick response (stimulation) may be the only thing that can recall your pet when they’re about to cross the busy street.

  • Works without your constant supervision
  • For no bark collars and e-fence systems, the e-collar is programmed to work without you physically present. If your dog indulges in a barking fit or attempts to cross the yard boundary, the e-collar will automatically send feedback. This causes them to avoid the behavior over time through proper training.

  • Allows training with deaf dogs or those with hearing impairments
  • An e-collar sends more precise communication than your voice or a clicker does. And for hearing-impaired or deaf dogs, a sound correction is useless. Moreover, using static stimulation may be too strong for them. An e-collar with a vibration function is the best solution for this.

    How to Choose an E-Collar?

    What do you need the e-collar for?

    Different E-Collar Models

    Each type works differently and delivers a distinct dog training goal. Does your dog have a strong prey drive and chase small animals like rabbits or squirrels? Does your pet bark a lot? Are you having difficulty containing them within your property?

    Let’s examine each type to determine what e-collar can fix your problem.

    Remote Training Collars

    Black Labrador Wearing an E-Collar

    What is a remote training collar for dogs? A remote training collar allows pet owners to teach good behavior even though they’re yards or a mile apart from their dogs. It is the essence of this e-collar - remote dog training at your fingertips. Remote training collars are also called remote trainers or shock collars for dogs.

    A typical remote training e-collar system comes with a receiver collar and a remote transmitter. The receiver collar has contact points (prongs) that deliver feedback once you press the transmitter button. The handheld transmitter gives you control over the timing of the stimulation and the type of correction to use. This could be a split-second or continuous static stimulus. Most remote trainers have correction alternatives, such as vibration or beep.

    What is included in a remote training collar kit?

    • Remote Transmitter -  a handheld device that allows you to control when to send the stimulation
    • Receiver Collar - worn by your dog that contains prongs to deliver stimulation
    • Charger - used to recharge the receiver and transmitter’s batteries
    • Test Light - allows you to check if the remote trainer is working properly
    • Operating Manual - guides on how to set up and use the unit
    Typcal Remote Training Collar Set Inclusions

    Depending on the brand and model, there could be add-ons aside from what is listed above. Some features are also unique to a specific e-collar unit.

    Benefits of Using Remote Training E-Collars

    • Teach dogs better behavior at long distances
    • Deliver instantaneous feedback
    • Maintain clear communication with your dog
    • Multiple correction options for sensitive and hearing-impaired dogs

    When Should You Use a Remote Training E-Collar?

    Remote training collars complement most types of dog training. They can be used for basic obedience, intermediate, or advanced training (for hunting, K-9, service dogs, and military dogs). They are great for teaching your dog good behavior by discouraging unwanted ones.

    Is a remote training collar the best solution for you? Check out this detailed remote training e-collar buying guide to ensure you don’t miss out on the features you need.

    No Bark Collars

    Man and Dog Lying on Grass

    What is a no-bark collar for dogs? A no bark collar corrects your dog’s nonstop barking. It is also referred to as an anti-bark collar or bark collar. A bark collar utilizes a bark sensing technology that detects your dog’s barking sound or their vocal cords’ vibration.

    A bark collar unit is typically a standard dog collar with a receiver box that transmits the stimulus. Either rechargeable or replaceable batteries power the device.

    Most bark collars automatically deliver feedback once your dog barks. While it is automatic, you still have the option to set what stimulation to use (for multiple correction modes). You can also manually adjust the intensity level based on your dog’s temperament. The unpleasant stimulus could be a beeping tone, ultrasonic sound, spray, vibration, or static.

    What comes with a no bark collar system?

    • Bark Collar - composed of a dog collar strap and receiver that emits the correction
    • Charger or Replaceable Batteries - used to power the anti-barking device
    • Test Tool - allows you to check if the bark collar is working properly
    • Owner’s Manual - guides on how to operate the unit

    Typical Bark Collar Set Inclusions

    Good bark collars have accurate bark sensor technology that filters ambient noises to avoid false correction. Aside from your dog’s bark, some can detect a growl and howl. Other units have a bark counter that lets you know if your dog is responsive (or not) to the correction. This helps you decide whether you need to increase or decrease the intensity level.

    Benefits of Using Bark Collars

    • Give instant correction once your dog barks
    • Fix incessant and unnecessary barking over time
    • Work even if the pet owner or trainer is not around

    When Should You Use a Bark Collar?

    Bark collars curtail unnecessary barking. However, before deciding to use a no bark collar, determine first the reason behind your dog’s yapping behavior. Dogs vocalize for various reasons, including anxiety, boredom, habit, and old age. An anti-bark collar is a perfect device to correct your dog’s nuisance barking unless it’s a health concern.

    No bark collars are best for occupied pet owners that can’t be around to train their dogs. Here’s a complete guide to finding a suitable bark collar for your pet.

    E-Fence System

    Woman Walking a Small Dog within Boundary with Flags

    What is an e-fence for dogs? An e-fence system keeps your dog secure within a set area while at the same time allowing them to roam off-leash. E-fences are also known as electronic dog fences or pet containment systems. They come with an e-collar that automatically emits stimulation once your dog nears the boundary. Some e-fence systems deliver a beeping sound or vibration as a warning signal before giving off the static correction.

    With a pet containment system, you don’t need to build a physical fence as traditional fences require. This is why they’re also called invisible dog fences. E-fences are better than chain link or wooden fences in terms of ease of installation, cost, versatility, and maintenance.

    E-fences for dogs are categorized as follows:

    1. In-ground e-fences - employ shallowly burying wires underground to customize and set the area where you want your dog to run and play
    2. Wireless e-fences - create a circular boundary but don’t use wires to function
    3. Indoor containment systems - install avoidance areas inside your home to keep pets away from off-limit zones

    What is included in an e-fence system?

    • Transmitter Unit -  transmits a radio signal through the boundary wires (for in-ground fences) or creates a circular boundary (for wireless fences)
    • Receiver Collar - picks up the radio signal and emits feedback once your dog approaches the boundary
    • Boundary Wires (for in-ground fences) - form a loop to set your customized boundary
    • Training Flags - serve as visual training aids to let you and your dog know where the boundary lies
    • Power Adaptor - connects the transmitter to the outlet or surge protector
    • Charger - is used for charging the receiver collar (for rechargeable units)
    • Test Tool - allows you to check if the e-collar included in the e-fence kit is working fine
    • Operating Guide - gives detailed instructions on how to use the e-fence system

    Typical E-Fence Set Inclusions

    Other important e-fence features include the following:

    • Safety Timeout - automatically shuts off the correction after a specific time to avoid overstimulating your dog
    • Wire Breakage Warning - ensures your in-ground fence is always functional with no undiscovered broken wires
    • Battery Backup - keeps your e-fence system running even though there’s a power outage
    • Surge Protector - protects your in-ground e-fence from power surges caused by lightning

    Benefits of Using E-Fences

    • Keep pets safe within your property
    • Allow off-leash freedom for your dogs
    • Work without constant supervision
    • Great for any terrain or landscape (in-ground dog fences)
    • Portable for outdoor adventures or camping (wireless dog fences)

    When Should You Use an E-Fence System?

    E-fences contain pets within your property, yard, or a customized area. It’s the best solution if you want your dogs off the leash while ensuring their safety inside your property.

    Are you looking for an excellent e-fence system? Find out everything you need to know to inform your e-fence buying decision.

    Remote Training Collar vs. Bark Collar vs. E-Fence – Which Is Best for You?

    As discussed above, each type of e-collar has a distinct purpose. The trainer you need depends on the problem you want to resolve. If the issue is your dog’s unwanted behavior, like digging or chasing, consider getting a remote training collar. If their nuisance barking gives you a headache, then a bark collar can do the job. Get an e-fence if you have to contain your pets or restrict their access to certain areas.

    So, what type of e-collar do you need?

    What Type of E-Collar Should You Get Infographic


    PetsTEK’s Picks

    We’ve gathered the best remote training collars, bark collars, and e-fences to narrow down your choices. With this, you should be able to find the right e-collar that matches your dog’s needs and your preference.

    Best Remote Training E-Collars

    Best Remote Training E-Collars Chart Guide

    Best No Bark Collars

    Best No Bark Collars Chart Guide

    Best E-Fence Systems

    Best E-Fence Chart Guide

    Final Thoughts

    Buying an e-collar requires some considerations regarding how you intend to use it and what features to look for. Like any other tool, you must use an e-collar according to its function. E-collars do not replace hands-on training techniques but only supplement them. Getting the best trainer for your dog is just the initial step toward having a well-behaved family companion.


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