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Debunking Common E-Collar Training Myths

Debunking Common E-Collar Training Myths

Dog training is an integral part of any healthy human-pet relationship. It doesn’t matter if you’re starting training with a puppy or an older dog. Having them adequately trained can improve communication and help you keep them safe.

There are many methods used in dog training. However, one that’s especially divisive and misunderstood is dog training using a remote training collar, or as it’s more popularly known, a dog shock collar or e-collar.


What is an E-Collar?

E collars are dog collars that come with metal prongs. The prongs rest against the dog’s skin on the neck and deliver static stimulation when a button is pressed on the transmitter.

E-collars are not only used for obedience training though. Some of them are used to help minimize excessive barking or whining, like no-bark collars SportDog SBC-R and SBC-10, and some are used in conjunction with a fence, like the PetSafe Stubborn Dog In-Ground Fence System. It primarily functions to keep pets safe within a specific boundary or area.

 SportDog SBC-R No Bark Collar

Photo: SportDog SBC-R No Bark Collar


Still, many people gloss over the term “static stimulation” and insist on calling these collars shock collars. They are not entirely wrong. E-collars do deliver a shock (or static, they are pretty much the same thing.) However, because of the stigma attached to the word, many also do not realize that e-collars are not meant to hurt dogs.

What else do people get wrong about e-collars? Here are the most common myths and misconceptions.


Myth #1: An e-collar hurts dogs.

Wide-Eyed Dog Lying on Bed

Have you ever experienced static shock on a dry, cold day? Or maybe when you were younger, you somehow got it in your head to lick a double-A battery. Remember how any of those felt? They’re annoying, sometimes a tiny bit uncomfortable, a little bit surprising. But what they are not is painful.

E-collars are similar. The static is meant to catch your dog’s attention. Using the correct levels will not hurt your pet.

In starting dog training with a remote training collar, it is always advised to begin at the very lowest level. Some dogs will already respond to it, and some may not. In the latter case, you can gradually go higher until you see a reaction from your dog. It could be a head turn, an itch, or an ear movement.

One thing to note is that modern collars are made with safety mechanisms that will protect your dog from prolonged shock with an auto-shut-off mechanism. Many e-collars also come with vibration and tone or beep functions. This means that if you do not want to use static, there are other options available.


Myth #2: An e-collar burns the dog’s neck.

Dog with E-Collar Riding at Back of Pick-Up Truck

As stated above, e-collars are not meant to hurt dogs. When used properly, an e-collar is an effective training tool. It’s not a taser. It’s not a gadget used for punishment at all.

So why do people still think using an e-collar will result in burnt skin? The short answer is incorrect usage.

An e-collar must be appropriately fitted. It is also never recommended for a dog to wear a remote training collar for more than a total of 8-10 hours per day. And even then, the collar must be rotated every 2 hours. This is to avoid pressure sores from forming. Dirty collars must also be cleaned accordingly before using.

Another vital thing to look out for is allergic reactions. Some dogs may be allergic to metal and will need hypoallergenic prongs. Any of those can result in itching, rashes, redness, and wounds.


Myth #3: E-collar training is scary for the dog and can be detrimental to building trust and communication.

Dog Wearing PetSafe Remote Training Collar Indoors

Photo: PetSafe PDT00-16120 Remote Training Collar

It must be reiterated: e-collars are not intended for punishment. A responsible pet owner or trainer will never use fear to get their dog to obey.

Dogs communicate differently compared to humans. This is why commands are better served with accompanying actions. But this may not be easy if the dog is farther away. Take, for example, a dog that suddenly runs off in the park. They may know the command “stop” or “no.” They may know the accompanying action that signals the command. But what good would that be if they are not there to hear and see the commands?

An e-collar hastens the training process by allowing clear and immediate feedback to be given to the dog. This enhances communication and understanding. It also establishes you as the “leader of the pack.” You are the one to be trusted and not the one to be feared.


Myth #4: Only specific dog types or breeds are fit for electronic training.

Different Dog Breeds and Sizes Lying Together in Yard

This is another misconception about electronic training. Many people think that e-collars are only for very stubborn dogs. Some believe that remote trainers are only ideal for training working dogs, specifically those used for hunting.

Yes, a stubborn and hard to control dog will benefit significantly from static correction. Compared to voice commands they are accustomed to, the shock is like a harder nudge that gets their attention. It’s a little bit harder to ignore. For hunters, the ability to communicate with their dogs over longer distances is a godsend.

But that is not all an e-collar is suitable for.

Dog training can be exasperating at times, even with the normal temperament and non-hunting ones. They get distracted. They start jumping all over the place. They chew on things they’re not supposed to. So many annoying behaviors are not exclusive to stubborn dogs.

A good quality e-collar partnered with patience and consistency can result in faster and less stressful learning. And that goes for both you and your dog.


E-collars produce static stimulation that causes a minor discomfort for canines. Used properly, it should not cause harm to your pets. Training with a remote collar, when correctly done, is no more challenging than any other training method. If anything, electronic training may be the quickest and easiest path to getting your pet to learn good behavior.

In the hands of a capable and knowledgeable trainer, remote training collars can help turn pets into compliant, well-adjusted, and happy dogs. And that is no myth. 


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