A Beginner’s Guide to Choosing the Right E-Collar for Dogs
Dog training can be challenging, especially for beginners or first-time pet owners. That’s why e-collars were created to complement the training. However, there are many options on the market, and choosing the right dog training collar can also be tricky.
Whether you’re a beginner or looking for an upgrade from your previous purchase, this post gives you easy and practical tips to help inform your buying decision.
If you’re in a hurry, you can go directly to the discussion on how to choose the right remote training collar for your dog. Otherwise, take a minute or two for some insights about e-collars and why you need to buy the right e-collar for effective dog training.
What is an E-Collar?
An e-collar or shock collar is also known as a remote training collar. As the name implies, it is an electronic dog training device.
How Does a Remote Training Collar Work?
Remote training collars (remote trainers) send feedback to your dog through the receiver collar attached to your dog’s neck. The collar has prongs or contact points that deliver the stimulation. The pet owner or dog trainer, carrying the remote transmitter, controls what type of stimulation to use and when to send the stimulation.
A remote training collar acts as a leash extension to ensure you are in control of your dog when they’re at a distance or off-leash.
Can Shock Collars Hurt Your Dog?
Shock collars are relatively safe if used properly. Ecollars are not meant to punish your dog but only to discourage them from doing undesirable behaviors.
When Can You Start Using an E-Collar for Your Dog?
The rule of thumb is to start using a dog e-collar when your puppy is around 6 months old. You should only supplement your training with an e collar when your dog has already learned the basic dog commands.
Importance of Buying the Right Remote Training Collar
Choosing the right remote training collar is the first step to successful dog training. Remote trainers come in different types since they are manufactured by different companies, offering varying features. You should buy an e-collar with features that match your dog’s breed and the kind of environment you want to run your dog in.
To make an informed decision, take into account the guiding tips below in buying your first remote training dog collar:
1. Think about where you want to take your dog and how far they will have to go off-leash.
The effective range between the transmitter and receiver collar is a vital criterion in your selection. It tells you how far your dog can run while still being in control. The standard range for shock collars is ½ mile. This is enough for basic obedience training and off-leash playtime around your property.
Take note, though, that terrain and canopy cover affect the actual effective range of the e-collar. What manufacturers meant when stating an e-collar range is a straight line of sight without any terrain obstruction. Hence, opt for a more extended range if you’ll be taking your dog to the countryside or field.
2. Discover your dog’s sensitivity before buying an e-collar.
Observe how sensitive your dog is to physical stimuli during heightened situations. For example, suppose your dog gets highly excited while chasing a rat and runs through thorny shrubs without hesitation. This suggests that your dog has low sensitivity to physical stimuli when they’re highly aroused.
Knowing your dog’s sensitivity guides you in choosing an ecollar, whether to go with low-medium or low-high power output. Stubborn dogs and those with low sensitivity may require higher stimulation than highly sensitive ones. This could be a life-saving consideration, especially if your pooch tends to bolt out an open door and risks crossing a busy street. Sending the correct feedback can stop your dog before they can take the road or go farther. This is one of those situations when your dog needs to have the right e-collar on them.
3. Choose an e collar that is safe and humane for your dog.
Remote training collars are training tools and not punishment devices. Modern shock collars emit static stimulation that does not hurt your dog. Pick an e collar with adjustable levels of stimulation of at least 100 intensity levels. Good e collars offer additional alternative stimulation like vibration or tone other than static. Alternative stimulation is suitable for shy and sensitive dogs that react instantly to vibration.
Also, other collars have a lock switch or safety feature to avoid prolonged correction. Most remote training collars are programmed to only deliver stimulation for a limited time, usually up to 10-12 seconds. Even if you forget to release the button after 12 seconds, the stimulation automatically stops as a safety feature. A lock switch lets you lock the stimulation level to avoid sudden jumps to higher levels, preventing overstimulation of your dog.
4. Pick a remote trainer that fits your dog’s breed and size.
Dog shock collars won’t work effectively if the collar is not the right fit for your dog. The stimulation may be administered inconsistently if the collar hangs loosely on your dog’s neck. This may, in turn, confuse your dog about what you want them to do. Meanwhile, a too-tight collar causes skin irritation and risks choking your dog.
Additionally, if you have a Tibetan Mastiff or dogs with thicker coats, check the prongs of the receiver collar. It’s better to buy ecollars with longer contact points to ensure that correction will be transmitted effectively.
5. Consider buying a fully waterproof e-collar.
Contemplate if you will need to take your dog near bodies of water or have plans to install a pool on your property. Most receivers now are waterproof, while transmitters typically aren’t.
You might think you won’t need a waterproof unit since you don’t intend to bring your dog for a swim. However, you should expect the unexpected, such as getting caught in the rain while outside training with your dog. It’s better to be ready than to be sorry later.
6. Check the batteries of the remote training e-collar.
Rechargeable units are better than ecollars powered by replaceable batteries. It saves you additional costs in the long run. A quick-charge battery is a plus in managing downtime.
If you have travel or camping plans in places with no power, though, and you’ll be staying with your dog for a few days, this is where replaceable batteries come in handy.
7. Look for the expandability of the shock collar.
Some remote training collars are expandable up to 2-3 dogs; some even more. These ecollars allow you to pair additional collars to one transmitter. Hence, if you have a lot of dogs that need training, consider the expandability of the e-collar. This way, you can save costs and enjoy easy control without carrying many transmitters with you while training many dogs.
8. Inspect the warranty and manufacturer of the dog collar.
Reputable brands offer long warranty periods since they trust the quality of their products. Trusted brands developed shock collars that can last for many years.
Making a Choice
After knowing the factors to look for an e-collar, you can narrow down your choices to find the best e-collar for your dog.
- Contemplate how much range you will need.
- Discover your dog’s sensitivity.
- Choose a dog collar that is safe to use.
- Take into account your dog’s breed and size.
- Opt for a fully waterproof e-collar.
- Consider an e-collar with rechargeable batteries.
- Check for the collar’s expandability.
- Inspect the warranty and reputation of the brand.
If you’re ready to make that first purchase, PetsTEK has a few recommendations to help you out:
Best Over-All: ET-300 Mini Educator by E-Collar Technologies
The ET-300 Mini Educator is an e-collar that tops our list. It has a ½-mile range and 100 levels of static stimulation. It also comes with a tone and vibration ideal for sensitive or deaf dogs. This e collar has a LED light for night visibility. An excellent choice for dogs 8 pounds and larger, this dog training collar is fully waterproof and rechargeable. Other than yellow, it’s also available in black and Educator Zen 300 variants.
Best for Small Dogs: ME-300 Micro Educator by E-Collar Technologies
The ME-300 Micro Educator is an e collar designed for the smallest dogs. It’s smaller, lighter, and has 20% less stimulation than the Mini Educator. It comes with four correction modes: nick, constant, Pavlonian tone, and non-stimulating vibration. Ideal for dogs as small as 5 pounds, this ecollar allows training for up to ⅓-mile range. It’s a fully waterproof remote trainer, which is expandable for up to 2 dogs.
Best for Medium Dogs: Dogtra 200NCPT PetsTEK Edition
The Dogtra 200NCPT is an e-collar great for small to medium dogs. This has a ½-mile range, 100 static stimulation levels, an audible tone, and an HPP vibration. Best for dogs 12 pounds and up, it’s a training tool designed for obedience training and off-leash walks.
Best for Large Dogs: Boss Educator ET-800 by E-Collar Technologies
The Boss Educator ET-800 is an e collar created for large, stubborn dogs. It has a 1-mile range, 100 levels of static, and an additional boost of up to 60 levels. While it may be excellent for stubborn breeds, this e collar also comes with tone and vibration for sensitive canines. It’s fully waterproof, rechargeable, and recommended for dogs 20 pounds and larger.
Best for Hunting Dogs: SportDOG SD-425X FieldTrainer E-Collar
SportDOG is a popular brand for hunting dog collars. Built for field training and hunting, the SD-425X FieldTrainer is the smallest and lightest shock collar yet by SportDOG. It has a 500-yard range, 21 static levels, and other correction options, such as tone and vibration. It can fit dogs as small as 8 pounds and is expandable for up to 3 dogs.
Most Durable and Versatile Trainer: Dogtra 1900S
The Dogtra 1900S is a shock collar perfect for different training needs. Whether for obedience, hunting, competition, or K9 training, this e collar is dependable and has 127 levels of static stimulation. Suitable for dogs 35 pounds and larger, this shock collar has a reach of up to ¾ mile and is fully waterproof. It also comes in a camouflage pattern and black edition.
Remote training collars offer the promise of allowing off-leash freedom to your dog. With the right dog training tool, you’re on your way to starting your training and fostering the bond between you and your dog.