Vibration Collar vs Shock Collar – What is Best for My Dog?
Any responsible pet owner knows that dog training is a must. Training is even more important if the dog has behavioral issues like persistent barking, inability to stay within the designated space, or other concerns like aggressiveness, reactivity, chasing, and digging. In cases like this, shock collars always come up for consideration.
A dog shock collar, also known as an electronic collar, e-collar, or remote training collar, is an electronic device placed on the dog’s neck. Controlled from a handheld remote transmitter, a push of a button triggers the stimulation. The stimulation is meant to get the dog’s attention, and so you can teach them the commands you want them to learn.
Simply put, a remote training collar is a behavior modification tool. Many of the e-collars available today are not limited to just the shock function, though. Modern remote trainers already include alternatives to static stimulation.
When it comes to behavior correction and reinforcement, though, are any alternatives better than static in delivering effective results? In this blog, we compare shock/static stimulation to vibration. Is one more humane than the other, or is it all the same?
How Does a Remote Training Collar Work?
How do e-collars work? Remote trainers were first invented and used in the 1950s as a tool to help control hunting dogs. Commercialization began a decade later. By the 1970s, e-collars enjoy more widespread use. Over the next couple of decades, it saw other features like audible tone on top of the usual static shock.
Modern e-collars are still being used for hunting dog training. But usage also expanded to basic dog training and to help curb stubborn and unwanted behaviors in pets. As previously mentioned, pressing the remote transmitter buttons signals the receiver collar to generate the stimulation. The stimulation could be a quick, single-second burst or continuous. The stimulation could likewise be any of the following, or combinations of them:
- Beep or Audible Tone
- Ultrasonic Sound
Shock Collar vs. Vibration Collar – Which is More Humane?
There are many different brands of remote training collars in the market. Some models have static stimulation levels that go from 0 to over 100, like the Dogtra 200NCPT and the 1900S. Some, like the Educator PG-300 by E-Collar Technologies come with vibration and tone only.
Static stimulation remote training collars get a lot of negative press, simply because “electric shock” does not inspire a feeling of safety. After all, who wants to get electrocuted? But that perception couldn't be more wrong.
While the fear of hurting your dog from shock is understandable, it’s not exactly accurate. There are many myths about static e-collar usage that is untrue. Using a remote training collar from a reputable brand and company is safe, especially if used exactly as intended.
Advantages of Using a Remote Training Collar
There are many benefits to using an e-collar.
1. Correct behavior at longer distances.
An e-collar won’t limit dog training to only when your dog is within sight and hearing. Remote trainers have ranges from a few hundred yards (perfect for training in the backyard or in-house) to miles (great for hunting dog training). This makes it the ideal tool to get your dog prepared to go off-leash and still be safe.
2. Fix behavior issues when out of hearing range.
How often do you get the fear of your dog running away and straight into dangerous traffic, and they won’t be able to hear you call them back? With an e-collar, pushing a button is enough to get them to stop and go back.
3. Works even when the trainer is not physically present.
E-collars can also be used for excessive barking by way of no-bark collars. These collars don’t need you to be physically there. They can be programmed to give the stimulation whenever your dog starts barking too much.
4. Instant feedback.
Successful training is highly reliant on giving the correction at precisely the right time. With a shock collar, immediate feedback is given right away at the push of the remote button. This lets your dog quickly associate the stimulation with the reward or punishment.
Pros of Using a Shock Collar vs. Vibration Collar
The benefits above could work for both a shock collar and one that uses vibration, though. So what gives a static collar the edge over the vibrating kind?
- Adjustable Intensity – all modern shock collars come with varying levels of intensity. It can easily be configured to the level that works best for your pet. In comparison, there are very few remote collar models that even allow for vibration to be adjusted.
- Faster Results – most dogs more quickly associate the shock to what they don’t need to do. This makes training go so much quicker and paves the way to using vibration or tone later on.
It’s also important to note that “shock” itself is a misnomer. What these collars use is a very low static electricity more similar to a blunt, tapping sensation. It can be compared to flicking your skin. Is it annoying? Yes. But is it dangerous, painful, and life-threatening? No.
If a static stimulation remote training collar is what you're in the market for, here are some of the best brands and models you can get:
Pros of Using a Vibration E-Collar vs. Static Stimulation Collar
Unlike the perceived negativity surrounding static stimulation collars, vibration collars have been touted as the more humane solution to dog training.
How does a vibration collar work? Very similar to a regular shock collar. Instead of static, the remote set off a painless buzz to divert your dog’s attention. In many ways, it works just like a clicker, except it uses vibration instead of the clicking sound.
What are the benefits of vibration over static?
- It is faster than verbal commands.
While static stimulation is a proven effective way to train your dog, vibration is a great alternative. It helps mark unwanted behaviors quicker than using verbal commands and can easily capture your dog's attention and distract them from doing what they shouldn't.
- It’s great for deaf or hearing-impaired dogs.
For dogs that fail to respond to sound and voice commands, a vibration collar helps quickly get their attention.
However, a quick note of caution about this: use vibration ONLY to capture a dog’s attention. Using it for corrections may confuse your dog more and make them less likely to respond. It must also be said that some dogs react more adversely and get scared of the vibration compared to static.
Some of the best vibration stimulation collars you can buy today include:
Tips for Starting Behavior Training with a Remote Training Collar
Regardless of what type of e-collar you choose for your dog, you must learn how to use it properly. Otherwise, training will not be very effective and you may still end up confusing or hurting your pet.
We also recommend teaching your dog basic commands BEFORE starting e-collar training. Why? Because then it would be easier for you to see if your dog understands the command and what you’re asking them to do and not only reacting because of the stimulation.
Ready to start? Here’s how.
1. Let your dog get accustomed to the collar first.
While it’s tempting to jump into training immediately, you have to ensure that your dog gets used to the collar first. Let them wear the collar for a few hours each day, rotating it every once in a while to prevent sores and irritation. This helps them realize that the e-collar is not being used as a punishment tool.
2. Start at the lowest setting.
Once your dog is used to the feeling of the collar, you can start using the static or vibration for training. ALWAYS start at the lowest setting and move up gradually until you find the level that works for your pet.
- Twitching ears
- Head jerk
- Spasm in the legs, stomach, or other body parts
You know your pet best, so look for the tiniest reaction and start at that level. If your dog appears to be in pain, the level is too high.
If you can, try not to let your dog see the remote in your hand. This helps them avoid associating the stimulation with your hand. Remember that dogs do not communicate the way humans do. If they feel the stimulation and connect it to your hand gestures, they may think you’re causing them aggravation. This may make them feel unsafe with you.
Bottom Line – Shock or Vibration Collar?
Remote training collars are great training aids. They can be a huge help in correcting bad behavior as well as learning new commands.
Both the static stimulation collar and vibration collar serve this purpose. If you can't decide which to get, then choose an e-collar that comes with both. This also gives you the benefit of transitioning from one stimulation type to another as training progresses.
When it comes to remote training collars, the options are many. It’s up to you as the pet owner to check which one will produce the best result for your pet.