Today’s guide explores how to train a dog with a training collar, whether to address excessive canine barking or for other training needs.
Before we walk you through how to use a training collar like a pro, a snapshot of the various types of collars at your disposal.
What Are the Different Types of Training Collars for Dogs?
Many training collars for dogs use some form of negative stimulus to inhibit negative behaviors like excessive barking.
Other collars are more versatile, allowing you to use them for various training needs – more on these below.
These are the main types of collars:
- Shock collars: A shock collar, also called an e-collar or electronic collar, delivers electric stimulation to get your furball’s attention. Although these collars can be highly effective for suppressing negative behaviors, they can trigger unwanted behavior if not properly used. This guide will help you avoid this issue. Much controversy surrounds the ethics of shock collars, and you should only opt for this style of training collar if you do not consider this form of correction inhumane. Used correctly, shock collars can be an invaluable part of dog training toolkit.
- Collars with an invisible fence: A wireless fence, also known as an invisible fence, is one method of containing Rover within the boundaries you set in your yard. If your pooch gets too close to the perimeter, the collar issues a warning sound. If Fido does not heed this audible warning, the collar will deliver a corrective shock.
- Vibrating collars: A vibrating collar delivers an irritating and rapid movement that should arrest your dog’s attention. These collars work especially well with hearing-impaired or deaf mutts.
- Anti-bark collars: Anti-bark collars, also known as bark control collars, are designed to automatically utilize deterrent methods when your dog barks. These include static shock, ultrasonic alert, and vibration. Some bark collars use a spray of citronella or unscented liquid to stop your dog from barking when he shouldn’t.
Is a Training Collar a Shock Collar?
As outlined above, not all training collars are shock collars.
The collars that use an electric shock for training purposes have advanced considerably since their introduction in the 1960s. These early training collars employed a robust electric shock which many dog owners considered inhumane.
Most contemporary shock collars use a vibration or a very low electric stimulation rather than a vigorous shock. If you use these collars with a deep understanding of dog training, they can become powerful training tools.
Perhaps the most important caveat is that not all dogs will get on well with this type of training, so be prepared to be flexible and try another approach if required.
Now, before you start using the training collar with Rover, you’ll first need to careful introduce him to the collar so that he forms positive associations with it – this is the same principle used when crate training a dog.
How You Should Introduce Your Pooch to a Shock Collar
While all dogs are different and every pet owner has different needs, this simple framework will help you to introduce Spot to his collar the right way:
- First, shock yourself
- Get to grips with the basics
- Don’t rush
- Make sure that your dog likes the collar
First, shock yourself
Before road testing the training collar on your furry friend, test it on yourself. If you feel that the shock is too intense, think what it would be like for your pooch.
Get to grips with the basics
Start by ensuring that your dog understand simple obedience commands, such as:
- Lie down
It is also sound practice to familiarize your dog with voice markers and clickers. This will enable your pooch to form an association between complying with commands and being rewarded with a treat.
These critical preparatory steps are not intended to be used suppressively. Rather, they will help you to communicate effectively with your dog, encouraging ongoing compliance.
Patience and taking things slowly are key to all aspects of dog training. This includes getting your new puppy started with a training collar. Avoid using these devices until your puppy is at least six months old.
When your dog eventually has the collar around his neck, always start on the lowest setting, even if you have a larger breed. As you increase the correction gradually, you should detect when it starts to register with Rover.
Make sure that your dog likes the collar
Using a training collar is similar to positive reinforcement training – rewarding positive behaviors with affection or a treat. Buzz the collar once and give your dog a treat when they comply with a command, and this should get him to associate the collar’s stimulus with a reward.
You should also keep the following pointers in mind:
- Large breeds might require higher levels of correction, but you should still start slow and low when using a training collar.
- Monitor the emotional sensitivity of your dog while training him with a collar. Nervous dogs are liable to me more reactive to a heavy and bulky new collar.
- Never increases the intensity of the correction just because your dog fails to obey. Rather than improving overall obedience, this approach can lead to more problems over time.
How to Train a Dog with a Training Collar
Once your dog is used to his new training collar, you’ll need to pack plenty of patience to ensure the training process goes as smoothly as possible. Here is a simple guide to the overall process:
- Buy the best training collar
- Get back to basics at first
- Start by using the vibrate mode
- Reach out for help if you need it
- Know when it’s time to quit
1) Buy the best training collar
If you invest in a high quality dog collar, this should streamline things for you and make things less unpleasant for your pooch.
Opting for a cheap and poor quality collar is counterproductive. Shoddy devices may be inconsistent with the intensity of the shock delivered. They may even malfunction, administering random shocks to your pup. If you need help, check out this guide to the best training collars.
2) Get back to basics at first
A training collar is not a magic wand that will transform your dog’s behavior overnight. You’ll need to invest some time and effort into training.
Go over simple commands with your dog when you’re getting started – sit, stay, lie down, and come.
Always use positive reinforcement with the same voice marker – either “Good boy” or “Yes”, for example. Give your dog one of his favorite treats and he will become more receptive to complying with the demands of the training collar.
3) Start by using the vibrate mode
Many training collars come with multiple methods of correction, including:
- Ultrasonic vibration
- Vibrating alert
- Static shock
Start with the less invasive beep or vibrate, and you might find that your dog immediately complies, meaning you will not need to resort to shock correction. If they take no heed of the milder methods of correction, you have the option of using the shock feature.
4) Reach out for help if you need it
If you run into difficulties and discover that your dog is not obeying the training collar, avoid dialing up the intensity out of frustration.
Some pet owners may find that even with a slow introduction to a training collar followed by proper training, their pooch just will not comply. Remember, there’s no need to suffer in silence. Reach out to a professional dog trainer who may require just a single session to get you and your dog on the right track.
5) Know when it’s time to quit
You should keep firmly in mind before you purchase a training collar that there is no guarantee that any type of collar will correct negative behaviors in your dog.
All dogs are unique, and all breeds have different temperaments. You might find that your dog doesn’t take to a collar, even when you appear to be doing everything right.
In some cases, discontinuing use of the collar is the best remaining strategy if you are getting no results at all. What else can do you, though?
Other Methods of Using a Training Collar on Your Dog
Shock collars tend to do one thing very well, but they are highly versatile training tools that you can use in many different ways.
The most obvious use for a shock collar is for the reinforcement of basic training, enabling you to get your dog to respond more sharply. A training collar helps to create a firm foundation if you intend to teach your dog some more complicated and advanced skills later down the line.
One other way in which you can use a dog training collar is to help you to encourage your dog to behave well when walking off the leash. If you take complete control of your dog, assuming an alpha role, you should be free to allow Fido to roam off-leash, confident that he will respond to your commands when required. You should be realistic, though. Using a shock collar will not instantly get you to that stage, but they can be an effective stepping stone. Some pet owners use electronic training collars as an alternative to a leash. Unlike leashes, shock collars will not get tangled up.
Another popular use case for training collars is when they are combined with an invisible fence, also known as a wireless dog fence. The collar might be connected to a boundary wire buried underground, a boundary issuing from a radio transmitter, or a boundary demarcated by GPS. When your dog breaches the boundaries, the collar will administer a beep, a vibration, or a shock that should guide Rover back into his safe area.
Beyond this, pet owners often use training collars to discourage a variety of negative or destructive behaviors. Training collars are remarkably versatile, even if the best models are not especially cheap. Maybe your dog is barking excessively, or perhaps he snaps at strangers. Alternatively, you may find that your dog pulls heavily on the leash when you’re out for walkies. All of these canine behaviors and more can be improved with the use of a training collar. You should consult a professional dog trainer if you feel that your pooch has ingrained negative habits that you just can’t seem to shake.
A training collars might also be beneficial for pet parents looking to introduce their dogs to if
agility training. If so, agility trails are about much more than just leaping obstacles and climbing. There is a tight time element involved, so your dog must be capable of quickly and efficiently obeying commands if you want him to thrive in the arena.
Trainers can also use shock collars to prepare dogs for a job. From military dogs and police dogs through to the canines use to detect drugs or explosives, many different dogs are trained in different ways using a variety of training collars.
The most important piece of advice throughout introducing your dog to a training collar is this: always use lots of positive reinforcement.
We very much hope that today’s guide has given you a clear understanding of the different types of training collar you can use with your dog. You should also now be in a position to decide whether a shock collar is the right option for Rover, or whether you might consider a less invasive method of correction – ultrasonic sound, vibrating alert, or spray, for instance.
It is also worth underscoring that training collars will not always work well with all dogs. Be prepared to experiment and pack plenty of patience.
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