As dog owners we all want the best for our pups, which makes it perfectly normal to be cautious about using a Static Bark Collar, or e-collar, as part of your training. Especially when you might have heard things that made you think twice about whether it's the right option for your dog.
Once you’ve been introduced to the world of how these e-collars can help your dog and you, they will become an indispensable, handy dog training tool you’ll be thankful to have.
What are static bark collars? Static bark collars are an advanced pet training aid that gently but effectively correct your dog’s barking behaviour through harmless stimulation.
We hope by breaking down some common myths around their use and effects, it becomes easier for you to decide if a static collar is a training tool you’re comfortable using on your dog.
E-Collars: NOT Your Back-In-The-Day Shock Collars
Before we deep dive in, let’s clear the air on e-collars.
Knowing what static bark collars actually are, and what they do, really helps dog owners like you better understand the device as a valuable dog training tool.
Chances are you’ve heard ‘static collars’ or ‘e-collars’ being referred to interchangeably as ‘shock collars’. But shock collars actually have a whole history of their own that makes them quite different to modern e-collars.
Most older shock collars used electric shock treatment for behaviour modification; which actually gave dogs a shock. Modern day e-collars on the other hand use Electronic Stimulation (ES), as a painless alert or prompt to dogs about a behaviour that needs correction.
So, How Do Static Collars Work
The aim of the Electronic Stimulation is to effectively distract and interrupt your dog from its current behaviour patterns. Your dog quickly becomes conditioned to associating the temporarily unpleasant (but not painful!) sensation with its own behaviour, learning what needs to be changed.
So if there’s one thing to remember about static collars : it’s that they correct and deter behavioural issues, not punish “bad” behaviours using pain or fear. It’s a training tool, not a punishment tool.
Now that you're sitting more on the comfortable scale with e-collars, let’s get into some myths.
Myth 1: Static Collars Are Painful On Dogs
Static Shock Is Different To Electric Shock
Both static shock and electric shock have the word “shock”, but we assure you they’re not the same.
Remember Electronic Stimulation? The static shock e-collars use is basically an Electronic Stimulation. This is why your dog feels a mild sensation when a static collar is on.
A static shock is no different to the “zap” you get from rubbing your feet across a carpet and touching something else after. It’s unpleasant for a split moment, but not enough to hurt you.
Here’s a comparison between e-collars and other products that also use Electronic Stimulation
for a better idea:
- Muscle toning machines: roughly 2 joules when set on normal, and up to 6 joules when set on high
- Charged, electric security fence (not pet containment unit) : roughly 3.2 joules
- An e-collar / training collar: roughly 0.000005 joules when set on low
*muscle toning machines (often called EMS) are used for power/endurance training, muscle recovery or general muscle toning.
The level of static stimulation in an e-collar is minuscule. So even on the highest setting, static shock simply isn’t powerful enough to inflict pain on your dog.
With that said, some e-collars on the market do not use any form of shock. One example is a Citronella Collar, which uses a brief burst of Citronella as the deterrent to nuisance barking - effective because dogs aren’t a Citronella scent fan! Other e-collar options include using an audible beep, or vibration signal as a bark deterrent. You’ll find this one useful in training timid dogs.
Different Intensity Level For Every Dog
The beauty of e-collars is that they come with a broad level range. This means tailoring the stimulation to size, temperament, situation, and type of behaviour correction you’re wanting to work on.
The intensity can be kept low during regular training once you’ve established a working level your dog responds well to. But if you’re in a situation where it’s likely your pup will get over-excited, you can dial it up a fraction.
The versatility of an e-collar avoids over-correcting your dog’s behaviour - and the key lies in choosing a setting that works for your canine friend.
The recipe to unobtrusive e-collar training : an intensity that’s just enough to elicit a response - and act as a communication with your dog.
Myth 2: Static Collars Are Unsafe
Incorrect Usage Makes It Unsafe, Not The Collars
Just like any training tool, e-collars can become unsafe when used incorrectly.
Once you’ve understood and implemented proper usage methods, your e-collar is safe; non-painful, and meant to work harmoniously with your dog training needs.
For a safe static collar training, you'll want to ensure:
1) Appropriate Duration of Wear
A static collar must never be on for more than 8-10 hours at a time, and should be rotated every 2 hours. Ensuring this avoids pressure sores from the contact probes, which are in contact with your dog’s skin.
Like many dog owners, if you fear the collar is effective only if on 24/7, just remember:
Initially, the collar has to be on more frequently for the purpose of getting your dog used to the training. But once they’ve learnt to respond appropriately, you’ll rarely have to use the collar! It becomes more of a “maintenance” training tool.
2) Right Fit
Ideally, the collar should sit high on the neck, with the optimal position being on either side of the throat.
The collar will slip and slide if it's too loose, causing skin irritation. Having it stiff and tight also results in sores and irritation.
Remember, if used incorrectly the e-collar has the potential to become an unsafe and unpleasant experience. If used right, you’ll see how responsive your dog becomes; even around the most tempting of distractions.
Myth 3: Static Collars Work Against Positive Reinforcement
Yes, e-collars are negative reinforcement. But this doesn't mean it works in conflict to positive reinforcement or even other forms of training.
Negative reinforcement is essential to facilitating positive reinforcement. Think of it this way: getting your dog to understand what’s a “No” (negative reinforcement), helps them recognise when they’re doing the right thing / when a reward is deserved (positive reinforcement).
In fact, some professional dog trainers also recommend using e-collars to compliment positive reinforcement. Treats for instance can be given as encouragement for following collar training instructions. Afterall, which dog doesn’t like to be rewarded for a job well done?
Negative reinforcement is also an important training element, because it gives the dog fast; immediate “feedback” that they’re not doing the right thing - what methods like positive reinforcement cannot.
You can learn more about why e-collars should be used in conjunction with positive reinforcement here.
Myth 4: Not for Anxious & Fearful Dogs
We might think e-collars are scary from a dog’s perspective, and therefore not effective for naturally fearful or anxious dogs.
Actually, if used properly, an e-collar can help interrupt the anxious or fearful state of mind. We go back to what static collars do: get in the way of your pet’s current behavioural state.
Many dog owners have had their dogs eagerly sit in front of them waiting for the collar to be put on. This is because they recognise that seeing the collar = going outside for play and exercise time - a treat for a dog in boredom!
A good takeaway you want to leave with is that static collars are just one of the many dog training tools. Neither positive reinforcement, a leash, or an e-collar should be seen as the ultimate solution to dog training.
As long as you're using them the right way, and understand how they're meant to help your dog- you can expect e-collars to elevate the behaviour training goals you've set. There’s also other Bark Collar options so you’re bound to find one that suits what you’re looking for.
And if you’re ever still in doubt, our eDog Bark Collar Buying Guide breaks down collar type against dog personality and training needs so you know what’s best for your dog. If you’re now more convinced that static collars aren't as scary as you thought, get your training-changing Barktec A01 Static Bark Collar here.
Remember, eDog Australia and our staff are not dog trainers. We’re simply here to provide product advice and occasional educational advice to ensure a smoother, less stressful dog training experience for our customers or interested dog owners alike.