How To Use A Dog Training Collar

dog training collar
Photo Credit: MabelAmber,

Dog training collars (also known as shock collars) are electronic collars that give off electric impulses to the neck of the pet through two tiny metal prongs attached.

This electric shock is brought about using a remote control that has different settings to levels of electric current depending on the temperament of a dog and how sensitive she is.

Dog experts agree that the proper use of the electronic collar is safe for the dog and does not pose any threat to their total well-being. Nevertheless, it is important to read the accompanying manual carefully before attempting to use the collar.

They are generally made up of two components:

i. A remote to be held by the trainer or parent which sends signals to the collar

ii. A collar that is worn around the neck of the dog that receives signals from the remote.

Electronic collars are wireless and are usually powered by batteries. Its primary function is to deter the dog from carrying out undesirable actions like eating furniture or garbage.

It is also used to offer positive punishment when your dog is doing something negative at a distance and can’t hear or see you.

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How Do You Use A Training Collar on A Dog?

Use A Proper Collar Size

If you want to achieve solid contact between the training collar and the neck of the dog, the proper collar size should be chosen.

Most dogs fall into the category that fits into the 3/4″ and the 5/8″ sizes. It is important to make sure that the collar is fit snugly on the dog’s neck without choking the dog or giving her any form of discomfort.

Tight collars can cause Pressure Necrosis, also known as collar-sores if the collar is too tight. Two fingers should be able to be slid between the neck and the collar while maintaining contact between the prongs and the skin of the dog.

It is also advisable to groom the pet before putting on the collar. Brushing aside hair from the dog’s neck will help you establish better contact between the electronic collar and the dog’s neck.

If it is desirable to you, the hairs on the neck can be trimmed down before the collar is worn to establish better contact without wearing the collar too tight.

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Condition the Collar

The first action to take before using a shock is to read the instructions that accompanied the collar. This will educate you on the details of how the collar works and all the precautions to be taken if it is to be used properly.

Then fix the batteries on the electronic collar and the remote control and ensure that they are in good working condition before fixing it on the dog. Test the dog collar on the fingers before attaching them to the dog’s neck.

It is advised to leave the collar on the dog’s neck for at least a week prior to applying the first stimulation. This is because if the first stimulus is sent to the dog’s neck immediately after fixing the collar, she might try to get rid of the collar since she is aware the shock comes from it.

It is important to set the collar to a stimulus that is suitable to your pet without startling her every time you send signals to the collar.

When you want to condition the collar, start by sending the lowest stimulus and observe how the dog reacts. If she doesn’t react, turn the remote to the next level and send another signal.

If the ear twitches or she swings her head, scratches her neck or starts to run in order to get away from the source of the shock, then it is the right level. Some collars have a beep option before the shock is applied.

Subsequently, if the dog gives up a negative behavior after hearing the beep, the stimulus can be stopped and only the beep is used to get the pet to stop undesirable behavior. This is known as over-laying.

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How Do I Get My Dog to Use A Shock Collar?

The whole idea of using an e-collar is to find a level of shock that will get a dog’s attention. If the dog puts her tail in-between her legs or whimper in pain, then it is time to readjust and lower the shock level.

Choose a collar with a lot of stimulation levels so that the best level for the dog can be chosen effectively.

Always hide the remote so that the pet cannot trace the source of the shock. If she realizes that the collar or remote or you are the sources of the stimulus, she might become aggressive towards the source.

It is easier to start training the dog with the collar by saying commands that she is already familiar with. Accompany the use of dog training collar with praises and treats to reinforce good behavior.

VIDEO: How To Use An E-Collar Properly

This video explains how to use the collar properly while training your dog.

Are Shock Collars Good for Training Dogs?

The term “shock collar” might scare you as a dog parent but it shouldn’t. Old models of training collars have 3 settings only, but they are no longer produced nowadays.

Modern collars have a wide range of stimulation. It does not actually shock the pet as the name implies. Rather, it sends a subtle signal and vibration to get the dog’s attention.

It is safe, effective and humane. It is suitable for all sizes, weight, personality and sensitivity levels. The use of a dog training collar properly can create a beautiful relationship between a dog and her parent.

This is because she knows that the wearing of the e-collar is an indication that it is time to go outside for training. The pet looks forward to her training because it keeps it occupied and comes with a lot of praise and treats.

You can use the collar to build a bond with the dog and boost her confidence if you don’t misuse it and avoid using it as a punishment tool.

It is a good idea to get a good dog trainer to give you tutorials on how to properly use it or to watch videos that will offer proper guidance on how to use the collar.

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How Do You Train with An E Collar?

The main reason for the use of the electronic collar is to get the pet to think that the shock comes from the negative behavior and not the collar. Training a dog with the use of a collar is of two categories

  • Getting the dog to stop unwanted or undesirable behavior
  • Getting the learned commands to be reinforced.

Never use the electronic collar to punish your dog or introduce commands. If your puppy is not up to six months old, do not use an electronic collar on her.

The dog needs to be taught the behavior with a clicker and treats before reinforcing it with an electronic collar.

Reinforcement of Learned Commands

The basic behaviors that can be established with the use of the electronic collar are:


Start by setting the collar to the correct stimulation level. Put on another collar above the training collar and attach a leash. Make sure that the second leash is not metallic to avoid the unwanted transmission of currents and a probable hurt to the dog.

It should not press the metal prongs from the training collar down on the dog’s neck.

Hold the remote and leash together and use the other hand to show the behavior while saying the command. Apply stimulation until the dog sits.

Then stop pressing the button, praise and treat. After some minutes of play and unwinding, repeat the whole process again.


Get the dog to the point that you want her to stay or lie on. Say the “stay” or “lie down” or “bed” command and start pressing the stimulus button.

Once she lies down, stop pressing the button and start to walk away. If she stands up and begins to go away, press the remote again and say the command while walking back to the spot.

If she lies down again, stop applying the stimulation and treat or praise or both.


This training is very important if the dog visits a dog park often or goes off-leash a lot. This can help in calling the dog back to you without yelling so much.

Start by holding the leash and the remote together. Once the dog begins to walk away, say the command or call her name. Start pressing the stimulus button while gently pulling the leash in your direction.

Once the dog starts to walk towards your direction, stop the stimulation and treat or praise.


This command is used to get the dog to walk near you or follow your heel. It is an important behavior because it makes daily walks less stressful for you and the dog. It prevents excessive tugging on the leash, yelling and unnecessary races.

Start this training by wrapping the leash around your finger to make it shorter. When the dog starts to walk near you, start releasing the leash slowly.

When she begins to go away, say the command word and start to apply the stimulus. Gently pull the leash towards yourself and stop applying the stimulus bonce she starts walking by your side again. Then praise her and treat.

Stopping Undesirable Behavior

Negative actions can be reduced or stopped entirely using an e-collar. It is always done using a stimulation level higher than the normal positive behavior stimulus. It is always better not to treat a dog after correcting a bad behavior top avoid reinforcing it mistakenly. The dog might think that the treat came because of that negative action. Some of these actions are:

Excessive Barking

There are several factors that can make a dog become startled and start barking. Sometimes, it might just be out of boredom, to seek attention or communicate with other dogs. Whatever the reason may be, excessive barking can be irritable to dog parents, neighbors and visitors.

To reduce or stop excessive barking in a dog, the stimulation level has to be taken a level higher. Once the dog starts barking, say the “quiet” command and start stimulating.

If she does not stop, increase the level and repeat the command. Once she responds and becomes quiet, stop stimulation, and praise.

If the electronic collar is not effective enough to stop the barking, try to find out the cause of the barks and get a bark collar if there is no reason found.

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Digging Up Crops and Flowers

The digging habits of a dog are normal and are part of what makes her a dog. But when a dog starts to uproot crops and flowers, it becomes an undesirable activity.

Occupying the dog with a chewy treat and lots of exercises can help to reduce the amount of time the dog will spend digging or make her completely forget about it.

When using a collar to stop this unwanted activity, increase the stimulation a level higher. Then let her go to the backyard. Stay away from her view and watch.

Once she starts digging in the wrong place, start stimulating her. If she stops digging, stop stimulating.

If the increase in stimulation did not get her attention away from the digging, increase it a level more and apply. Stop stimulating when she stops digging and repeat the process when she resumes digging.

You can also get a fence for the garden if possible.

Jumping on Visitors

When a pet jumps on people, they do not intend to scare them but to get their attention or to play with them. It might scare away visitors and children and is therefore considered a negative behavior.

When the dog starts to jump on people, the electronic collar can be to get her to calm down and sit. This can be achieved by increasing the stimulation level.

the electronic collar

Then say the “sit” command and press the button. Keep increasing the level until she gets attentive. Once she stops jumping and sits, stop applying the stimulation and praise her.

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Chasing Children, Vehicles and Other Pets

Racing and chasing things are all-natural instincts of some pets. However, when they begin to chase other pets, people and children.

It is important to raise a pet that does not scare people and create tension around the neighborhood.

Create a scenario that makes the dog want to chase. Increase the stimulation to a higher level and wait for the dog to start chasing. Say the command, firmly hold the leash. And start applying the stimulation.

Repeat the “come” command when she stops chasing. When she starts to come back towards you, stop the stimulation and praise.

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