Which shock collar is best?
When combined with a lot of patience, a shock collar can be a useful tool for training your canine best friend. While some people are nervous about using this type of device, in skillful hands it can be as effective as more rewards-based training systems. The key is to choose the best shock collar for your intended use.
The Educator The Boss Humane Dog Training Collar offers customizable training support that is useful for a wide variety of canine training goals.
What to know before you buy a shock collar
Type of collar
The type of shock collar you buy depends on your training goals. There are three basic types of collars.
- Bark correction: Barking is a nuisance behavior that is not good for the dog or the people around it. A bark correction collar delivers an electric pulse triggered by a bark. These are most effective in households with just one dog, as the bark of another dog can trigger a shock. There are also non-electric versions of bark correction collars. They deliver a small puff of citrus into the dog’s mouth when they bark.
- Boundary collars: These are most recognizable by the white flags marking the boundary of the yard or property. Used in conjunction with invisible fences, these are designed to emit a warning tone or beep followed by a shock when the dog approaches the boundary.
- Remote control training collars: Bark correction and boundary collars are automatic and triggered by a dog’s action, but a remote control training collar is used by a person to correct an unwanted behavior. A transmitter is connected to the dog’s collar, and correction can be delivered in the form of a tone, a vibration or an electrical pulse.
Some dog owners may never need to go beyond their property borders, but others (such as hunters) might want a longer range. Remote control collars can have a range of 300 yards to a mile or more. The longer the range, the more expensive the collar, so only purchase what you’ll need.
What to look for in a quality shock collar
All types of collars need to function properly even in wet conditions. This includes everything from a slight drizzle to a momentary plunge into water. Look for waterproof collars with an indication of how deep they can go, and how long they can be submerged and still function.
Correcting your dog with a shock collar does not need to be painful. Leveled correction that starts with a warning tone or beep offers the dog a chance to make a better choice before being corrected with an electrical pulse.
And when it comes to electrical pulses, there should be a wide range of intensity and duration that can be programmed by the trainer.
Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are the best choice for both the remote control and the shock collars themselves. These tend to charge faster and last longer than collars that use disposable batteries.
How much you can expect to spend on a shock collar
A shock collar is an investment in your dog’s long-term health and safety. Expect to spend $50-$150.
Shock collar FAQ
Do shock collars hurt the dog?
A. In the wrong hands, any training method can hurt a dog. It is important to take your training slowly and to use gentle corrections at first. Your dog will be more willing to work with you if gradually encouraged to make better choices rather than shocked into pain and submission.
How do you use a remote control shock collar to train your dog?
A. The best approach is to get help from a qualified professional. This starts with basic obedience classes and progresses to more sophisticated training with a shock collar.
When you are ready to start training with a shock collar, it’s crucial to move slowly in the proper order of operations.
- Don’t use the collar on a puppy.
- Start with the basics without using a collar (teach sit and stay, plus come, if you can).
- Put the collar on your dog, and allow your dog to get used to wearing it.
- Start at the lowest setting (a beep or tone if possible, or a very brief pulse).
- Train in steps. Ask for the behavior, trigger the collar if it’s ignored, ask again, then reward any small attempt at compliance.
This training sequence is very basic. It’s important to consult a professional if you find yourself struggling.
What are the best shock collars to buy?
Top shock collar
What you need to know: This works best for medium-to-large dogs.
What you’ll love: It has 100 settings for gentle, individualized correction. It has a 1-mile range and works well for dogs that are 20 or more pounds. It can be set depending on the dog and their training goals. It’s waterproof and works well for hunting.
What you should consider: It’s expensive, and it takes time to learn how to use it properly.
Top shock collar for the money
What you need to know: It’s simple to operate for beginning dog trainers.
What you’ll love: With 16 potential levels of correction, this is a safe way to start training a dog. The beep and vibrate function may be enough correction for some dogs. The battery charges fully in two hours.
What you should consider: Keep spare batteries handy — some users have reported short battery life (but it does have a low battery display on both remote and collar).
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is best for large sport or hunting dogs who need impeccable recall.
What you’ll love: It has a 500-yard range and is versatile for teaching a wide variety of behaviors. It has 21 levels of stimulation that can be programmed as a nick (brief pulse) or continuous correction. It also features a beeped warning and has a low-battery indicator. It’s waterproof and comes with a training manual.
What you should consider: This is not recommended for dogs under 8 pounds.
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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