Implementing an e-collar into your dog’s training can feel a bit daunting. Feeling that way is completely normal as you want to ensure your dog learns positive, new behaviours and not worsen any existing ones.
To make the e-collar training seamless, we’ve put together answers to the common e-collar questions and five e-collar dog training tips!
What is an E-Collar for Dog Training?
An e-collar is a remote training tool used to teach your dog what behaviours are and aren’t acceptable. An e-collar system contains a dog collar, the receiver that’s placed on the collar, and a remote control.
The collar emits a correction in the form of a static shock, puff of citronella, vibration or beep when you trigger it via remote control.
It's an excellent tool for teaching your dog to stop jumping up on others, recall and other typical dog training commands that need solidifying.
How Do You Train a Dog With an E Collar?
E-collar training doesn't need to be complicated. Here are simple tips to get you started.
Training a dog with an e-collar is all about the order of commands and actions given to the dog.
For example, if your dog isn’t good at recall, you’d let them off the leash. Once the dog gets a little far away, or perhaps intently following a scent, you’d call their name, issue a correction with the remote control and then (ideally) they come back to you. When they come back, you reward them with a marker word (YES) and a treat or some affection.
Over time, this combination will teach them to recall correctly consistently.
This layering of the e-collar with the regular commands can be applied to everything.
Here’s another common example, if your dog jumps up on someone, you tell them to stop, issue the correction, use a marker word, and reward them when they return to being calm.
There is a technique involved when using the collar, but we hope that explains simply what the process will be.
The goal is for the dog to associate the stimulation with negative behaviour and avoid that negative behaviour because they understand that there is a consequence.
What Age Should You Start E-Collar Training?
E-collar training is safe for dogs that are over six months old.
When dogs are under six months, they may not have all typical commands locked in, making e-collar training confusing. They may also be too young to associate the correction with bad behaviour.
Do E-Collars Hurt Dogs?
If you correctly use an e-collar it doesn’t harm the dog. The receiver needs to sit high on the neck to one side. If the collar is too loose or the receiver is on the throat, this would be uncomfortable for the dog.
To avoid irritating the dog’s neck, you must rotate the side on which the e-collar sits each day.
E-Collar Dog Training Tip 1: Make Sure the Collar Fits Properly
This one feels a little obvious, but there is more technique to fitting an e-collar than you may think.
The collar needs to be in the perfect position to deliver a safe and effective correction.
Make sure the collar is off when first placing it on your dog. Fit the collar on a dog that is standing comfortably, not sitting. You should be able to fit one to two fingers between the collar and the dog.
Use your discretion when fitting the collar with your fingers as the measurement gauge. On a small dog like a Chihuahua, you’d only make a one-finger difference as a two or three-finger spacing means the collar is likely to fall off the dog.
A two-finger difference in a large fluffy dog like a German Shepherd will make the collar comfortable without running the risk of it falling off.
The receiver should sit high on the side of the dog's neck. If you use the collar multiple days in a row, swap the receiver’s side to avoid a rash and reduce irritation.
Let the dog wear the collar for a few days before turning it on. This teaches your dog that the e-collar is like any other collar. We don’t want your dog to associate the correction with the collar; the stimulation needs to be associated with bad behaviour.
E-Collar Dog Training Tip 2: Find the Right Working Level
The “working-level” or “stimulation level” is a term used in e-collar dog training often, and refers to the lowest level of stimulation that your dog responds.
We never want to start e-collar training on a higher level than necessary, as this would create a hostile training environment for your dog.
To find the working level, you need to start by training them in an area with minimal distractions and is safe and comfortable.
Starting at the lowest level, issue a correction and watch your dog closely. Does their behaviour or temperament change? Do they look around, flick their ears or scratch at the collar? Maybe they twitch or shrug their shoulders?
If you see a change to their behaviour when the correction was issued, this is the level you’ll continue to use in your dog training.
If you don’t notice a change in the dogs’ behaviour, move up to the next level and watch again. Continue to do this until you see they respond.
E-Collar Dog Training Tip 3: Use Consistent Commands
Before you add an e-collar into the mix, training your dog with basic commands is vital.
And keep these commands consistent, use the same word for the same behaviour every time. This way, your dog will learn quicker, and your training will be smoother. Use food to incentivise the dog listening to your commands and responding.
Once they understand the basics of what “sit”, “come”, “stay”, and more are, then you can introduce the e-collar.
Introducing the collar to a dog that doesn’t understand what you want them to do is frustrating for both you and the dog. Being consistent with your commands and responses is genuinely an essential part of dog training. Taking the time to lock in this as a foundation will only make your e-collar training stronger.
E-Collar Dog Training Tip 4: Know The E-Collars Limits
E-collars are a fantastic training tool for those who wish to train specific behaviours out of their dog.
But they do have limitations. If you expect the e-collar to help your dog with their excessive barking or stop them escaping your property, you might need a slightly different product.
If your dog has an excessive barking issue, look for an e-collar that comes with an auto-bark feature, or consider a bark collar. An auto-bark collar will detect barking and automatically deliver a correction. This is much easier than you trying to use the remote in time to tell your dog to stop barking.
And if your dog is a bit of an escape artist, an e-fence might be a better solution. An e-fence collar will only emit a correction to the dog if they are too close to the fence boundary. You get to tailor what that boundary looks like, maybe it's around your garden bed, along a specific fenceline or around an animal enclosure.
If you find yourself using the remote training collar for your dog barking or escaping, consider if these options are a better fit.
E-Collar Dog Training Tip 5: Do Your Research
Dog training is both challenging and rewarding. When you add another tool into the mix, like an e-collar, you need to research e-collar training.
Knowing the capabilities of an e-collar, it’s limitations and exactly how to use it is hugely beneficial.
Doing your research (from multiple sources) on how to best implement the e-collar with your dog’s current routine will set you both up for success. Training will be easier, less confusing, and you’ll see results faster.
We recommend collating information from multiple dog trainers to learn their approach and using those tips and techniques to build your training routine.
We also find Youtube is the best platform for seeing how dogs respond to e-collar training and visually understanding the order of commands given to a dog.
If you have any questions about which e-collar best suits your dog, don’t hesitate to contact our customer service team. We love to match dogs and their owners with an e-collar that suits their training and lifestyle needs.