What Is An Electric Dog Collar?

Dog owners have different attitudes to electric collars. Some people see them as a convenient device for remote correction of pet behavior, while others see them as a dangerous and harmful thing. It is worth understanding how such a collar works and how it affects the dog.

Why do I need an electric collar

An electric collar can be a good helper when training dogs that have reached the age of 6 months. It can be used to solve several tasks at once:

  • the dog will learn not to perform prohibited actions – pick up from the ground, bark at cats, etc.;
  • the dog will learn to perform commands and certain actions – to approach the owner, give the item, etc.;
  • the dog will develop a conditioned reflex when exposed to vibration and sound signals of the collar.

At the heart of successful training with the help of an electric collar, two methods are used – positive punishment and negative reinforcement:

  • positive punishment involves setting such a level of exposure that as a result, the pet immediately stops unwanted actions. However, there is a risk of scaring the dog – if you use this method without training, the dog can run away. This is especially dangerous if the training takes place in an unfamiliar area;
  • negative reinforcement – the use of unpleasant, but not painful effects. The dog feels discomfort and wants to get rid of it. The host starts a continuous action and stops it only when the command is executed. After that, the dog is encouraged. This is how the conditioned reflex is developed.

By varying the duration of exposure to the collar, you can solve various problems. A short exposure lasting about 0.2 seconds will draw the dog’s attention to the handler, make it execute the command faster, or remind the animal that it is performing a prohibited action. If this method does not work, the exposure time is increased. In the same way, excessive aggressive behavior is suppressed

How the device works

The principle of operation of a training collar is based on the influence of a certain current, which is triggered when a button is pressed on the control panel. When the dog feels uncomfortable or slightly sick, it knows that it is doing something forbidden. This will form a conditioned reflex.

An electric collar is put on the dog’s neck like a regular model. Due to its low weight, it is almost not felt. The device is protected from moisture and shock. On the collar there is a small box, from which two contacts come out, directed at the dog’s neck. When the owner presses the button, the contacts are closed, and current flows through them. The stimulation is not on the nervous system, but on the muscles and skin.

The main experience of dog breeders is that the collar can cause pain to the dog. However, this is only possible if the settings are set incorrectly. The functionality of the electric collar allows you to adjust the current strength – the lowest level will cause only a slight tingling, at a high level it will be painful. You can also adjust the exposure time.

All collars are the same, but the sensitivity of dogs is different. The strength of the feeling of impact is not affected by the size of the dog, its breed or age. The main influence is physical data – the thickness of the skin, subcutaneous fat, the presence of undercoat. The current status is also important. A calm animal will correctly perceive minimal stimulation, and in an excited state, the effect will be more noticeable.

How to choose an electric collar

Electric collars are selected individually – you should not choose only for the price. Different models have different functionality, which determines the cost.

You will choose a model that is suitable for the range of action based on your tasks:

  • if the collar is needed for walking, so that the dog does not run away, then 300 meters is enough;
  • if you teach the basic commands and consolidate the initial skills, it is optimal to choose an improved model, where the range will be 800-1000 meters;
  • an overly aggressive dog will need an electric collar with a long-term exposure function. The maximum range is 250 meters.

If you are fixing already learned commands or you need to adjust the dog’s behavior a little, then an inexpensive model without many additional functions is suitable.

The dog’s weight also matters. For representatives of small breeds weighing up to 8 kg, a small and low-power collar is needed. For medium-sized dogs up to 50 kg, models with a small or medium receiver are suitable. The largest Pets require a powerful electric collar. Before buying, measure the dog’s neck circumference and compare it with the collar diameter. The device should hang loosely, not squeeze the neck, but the pet should not be able to remove it on its own.

Many models have a beep or vibration. If you do not want to immediately train your pet under the influence of current, then give preference to such a collar. Then a sound or vibration signal will warn the dog that you are going to turn on the collar.

Is there any harm to the dog?

The first electric collars were cumbersome, inconvenient, and technically imperfect. The main danger of using them was that the lowest level of exposure was too strong. Even if the owner wanted to train the pet with the minimum current, the dog’s owner still caused harm to its health. Over time, electric collars have improved, they have new modes of operation, and the current can now be made safe, but at the same time tangible for the dog.

Dog handlers do not have a clear opinion about the use of electric collars. Many people say that it is impractical to risk the dog’s mental health for the sake of using modern methods of training and training. Other experts claim that such collars can be successfully used to train puppies and teenagers in order to wean them from inappropriate behavior. In any case, you cannot use an electric collar without first consulting an expert. The dog handler must train the dog owner to properly operate the device.

Two basic rules that manufacturers of electric collars follow in order not to cause harm to the dog:

  • the maximum duration of electric shock is limited to 8-12 seconds;
  • a pause between digits is required – up to 10 seconds.

If these rules are observed, even the most powerful current discharges should not cause physical or psychological harm to the animal.


Whether to use an electric collar for training a dog and correcting wrong actions is up to the owner. When purchasing such an assistant, you need to correlate the benefits and harms and strictly observe the time of use of the device.